Updated April 5, 12:18 PM CT
February 18, 2020
Steelers HC Tomlin takes offense to Garrett's accusation
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin vehemently defended Mason Rudolph on Monday after Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett again said that the quarterback directed a racial slur at him just before the teams' brawl in November.
"I took offense to it," Tomlin told ESPN's "First Take" when asked for his response to Garrett's allegation. Tomlin added, "I thought it was appropriate that Mason was properly defended. These accusations are serious. Not only in terms of Mason Rudolph's character but his professional pursuits."
Tomlin continued during Monday's interview.
"It was presented as a he said-he said situation, even to this day," Tomlin said, according to ESPN's Brooke Pryor. "I think the National Football League office was very clear that they launched a thorough investigation among all parties involved, including interviewing the people and the analysis of technology that was on that field, and found no evidence of Myles' allegation, and I think that should be stated."
In Garrett's first interview since being reinstated from his suspension, he maintained that Rudolph used a racial slur. "He called me the N-word," Garrett said. "He called me a 'stupid N-word.'"
February 17, 2020
Myles Garrett's 'stupid N-word' fiasco
Call it "StupidGate." Myles Garrett is doubling-down on Mason Rudolph's use of the "N" word, to the point where Rudolph is likely to file a defamation lawsuit in response.
In last week’s ESPN interview, which came only one day Garrett was reinstated by the NFL, Garrett locked in his own future testimony, if/when there’s a reason to testify.
“I go to take him down, he says some words as we’re going down,” Garrett said.
"He called me the N-word. He called me a 'stupid N-word,'" Garrett said.
Rudolph tried unsuccessfully to remove Garrett’s helmet, so he tried to remove Rudolph’s helmet. Rudolph charged at Garrett with his helmet off amongst several intervening players. That's when Garrett swung the helmet and struck Rudolph in the head.
“Most quarterbacks wear mics in their helmets,” Garrett said. (It's a speaker, not a mic.) “He somehow lost his helmet and had to get another one without a mic.”
“There were guys who were mic’d up near me, near us in that time who didn’t hear anything,” Garrett added. “From what I’ve heard there’ve been audio in that game that could have heard something or could not have heard something. But they don’t want to say. So something was said. I know something was said. Now, whether the NFL wants to acknowledge it, it’s up to them.”
February 16, 2020
Myles Garrett's racial-slur allegation: "Bold-faced lie"
In his first interview since being reinstated from an indefinite suspension, Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, speaking to ESPN's Mina Kimes, continued to insist his actions during a Thursday night brawl in November were prompted by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph using a racial slur toward him.
"He called me the N-word. He called me a 'stupid N-word,'" Garrett said.
Minutes after the full interview aired Saturday morning, Rudolph took to Twitter to dispute the claim.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin also issued a statement in defense of his quarterback.
"I support Mason Rudolph, not only because I know him, but also because I was on that field immediately following the altercation with Myles Garrett, and subsequently after the game," Tomlin said.
"I interacted with a lot of people in the Cleveland Browns organization - players and coaches," he continued. "If Mason said what Myles claimed, it would have come out during the many interactions I had with those in the Browns organization. In my conversations, I had a lot of expressions of sorrow for what transpired. I received no indication of anything racial or anything of that nature in those interactions."
Rudolph's representation said Garrett is "now exposed to legal liability" due to his comments.
February 12, 2020
Garrett reinstated from helmet-swinging incident
The NFL has reinstated Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett following an indefinite suspension, the team announced Wednesday.
Garrett was suspended for the rest of the 2019 season after ripping off Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph's helmet and pounding him in the head with it near the end of a Week 11 game versus the Steelers.
The 24-year-old was required to meet with commissioner Roger Goodell before a reinstatement decision, and that meeting took place on Monday. Garrett can now rejoin his team and participate in offseason workouts, which begin in April.
"We welcome Myles back to our organization with open arms," Browns general manager Andrew Berry said in a team statement. "We know he is grateful to be reinstated, eager to put the past behind him and continue to evolve and grow as a leader. We look forward to having his strong positive presence back as a teammate, player and person in our community."
The Browns went 2-4 following the incident and missed the playoffs. Before Week 11, Garrett was enjoying a 10-sack season and was a leading candidate for the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
His punishment now amounts to a six-game suspension and a $45,263 fine. The Browns and Steelers were each also fined $250,000 for the melee.
Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey was given a three-game suspension, Cleveland defensive end Larry Ogunjobi drew a one-game ban, and Rudolph earned only a fine.
November 16, 2019
A disgusting moment that will live in infamy:
Garrett attacks Rudolph with helmet
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett has been suspended indefinitely for his violent outburst Thursday night when he ripped off Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph's helmet and clubbed him on the head during the final seconds of Cleveland's 21-7 win.
In addition to the previously reported suspensions, the NFL handed out over $225,000 worth of fines to a combined 32 Browns & Steelers players stemming from the Week 11 melee.
Garrett's shocking actions on national TV means Garrett will miss at least the rest of the season, including any potential playoff games.
The 2017 No. 1 pick will be required to meet with commissioner Roger Goodell "prior to a decision on his reinstatement."
"Last night, I made a terrible mistake. I lost my cool and what I did was selfish and unacceptable," said Garrett in a statement. "I know that we are all responsible for our actions and I can only prove my true character through my actions moving forward.
"I want to apologize to Mason Rudolph, my teammates, our entire organization, our fans and to the NFL. I know I have to be accountable for what happened, learn from my mistake and I fully intend to do so."
Garrett was having an outstanding year, racking up 10 sacks and two forced fumbles to put himself firmly in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year in his third NFL season. Garrett’s suspension of at least six games is now the second-longest suspension for on-field behavior in NFL history, behind only Vontaze Burfict’s 12 game ban earlier this season.
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey received a three-game ban for kicking and punching a downed Garrett, while Browns defensive end Larry Ogunjobi was given a one-game suspension for shoving Rudolph to the ground.
Additionally, the Steelers and Browns have each been fined $250,000.
The Browns released the following statement:
"We are extremely disappointed in what transpired last evening at the end of our game. There is no place for that in football and that is not reflective of the core values we strive for as an organization," said Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam in a statement. "We sincerely apologize to Mason Rudolph and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"Myles Garrett has been a good teammate and member of our organization and community for the last three years, but his actions last night were completely unacceptable. We understand the consequences from the league for his actions."
In 2006, Tennessee's Albert Haynesworth was suspended five games after he stomped on Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode's head. Haynesworth's punishment is the longest for on-field behavior in league history.
Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said Garrett apologized to him, and the defensive end said he intends to talk to his teammates.
Kitchens was disappointed with Garret for losing his cool and overshadowing a huge win for the Browns, who have won two straight games to salvage a season that was starting to slip away.
"You have to be able to maintain your composure in times like that, and under no circumstances do we want anything to do with anything like that," Kitchens said. "I am embarrassed. Myles is embarrassed. It is not good. He understands what he did, he understands it is totally unacceptable, and we have to get through it."
The Browns have been among the league's most penalized teams, and their lack of discipline has been a poor reflection on Kitchens in his first year as coach.
Cleveland committed eight penalties for 121 yards against the Steelers, and Browns defensive backs delivered two helmet-to-helmet blows that gave concussions to Steelers wide receivers.
The second such shot was by Browns safety Damarious Randall, who lowered his head and delivered a nasty hit on Steelers rookie Diontae Johnson, who suffered a concussion and had blood coming from one ear.
Kitchens took issue with the idea his team is reckless and said he was disappointed for his other players.
"We have five seconds to go in a game. That cannot happen," he said. "We have five seconds to go in a game - the biggest game that this team has won. Never beat Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the same year since 1999, and then we have to talk about this. There are 52 other guys on the team that that hurt, and it is going to hurt moving forward. We do not condone that. Myles understands what he did wrong."
November 21, 2019
NFL: 'No evidence' Rudolph used racial slur before brawl
I don't care if he writes poetry. I don't care if he 'keeps to himself. This article will tell you who the real Myles Garrett is.
In his unsuccessful appeal of an indefinite suspension Wednesday, Myles Garrett accused Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph of hurling a racial slur at him before they began brawling on Thursday Night Football, sources told ESPN's Josina Anderson and Adam Schefter.
However, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Thursday that the league looked into Garrett's allegations "and found no such evidence."
Rudolph told reporters Wednesday he didn't say anything to the Cleveland Browns defensive end that would've escalated tensions prior to the fight.
"Mason vehemently denies the report of being accused of using a racial slur during the incident Thursday night in Cleveland," Steelers spokesperson Burt Lauten said in a statement. "He will not discuss this accusation any further and his focus remains on preparation for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals."
Rudolph and Garrett started fighting after the former took exception to what he felt was a late hit in the dying seconds of the game. The brawl quickly escalated and resulted in Garrett ripping Rudolph's helmet off and bashing him over the head with it.
Rudolph's attorney slammed the allegation immediately after it was publicized:
According to ESPN, in his appeal, Myles Garrett falsely asserted that Mason Rudolph uttered a racial slur toward him, prior to swinging a helmet at Mason's uncovered head, in a desperate attempt to mitigate his suspension. This is a lie. This false allegation was never asserted by Garrett in the aftermath of the game, never suggested prior to the hearing, and conspicuously absent in the apology published by the Browns and adopted by Garrett. The malicious use of this wild and unfounded allegation is an assault on Mason's integrity, which is far worse than the physical assault witnessed on Thursday. This is reckless and shameful. We will have no further comment.
The fact that Garrett made the accusation against Rudolph tells you what kind of a man he is. He stoops to the lowest, most despicable charge you can accuse someone of to get his ass out of a jam.
Garrett was one of three players suspended following the melee. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was banned for two games for throwing punches at Garrett and kicking him in the head, while Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi was barred for one contest for shoving Rudolph from behind.
Garrett presented the allegation to appeals officer James Thrash, who reportedly remained stoic while taking detailed notes.
As part of his appeal, Garrett also reportedly cited the shorter suspension given to former Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith in 2013. Smith sat out two preseason games and one regular-season matchup for swinging his helmet at then-Miami Dolphin Richie Incognito.
November 20, 20919
Rudolph: I grabbed Garrett's helmet in attempt to get him off me
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph took a lot of heat from the public for not being suspended for his part in the helmet melee in Cleveland last week. Rudolph grabbed Myles Garrett's helmet at the beginning of their Thursday Night Football brawl, he said Wednesday.
"I took a late shot," Rudolph told reporters from a prepared statement. "Did not agree with the way he then took me to the ground. My natural reaction was just to get him off from on top of me."
Garrett was suspended for the rest of the season - and potentially more - after ripping off Rudolph's headgear and bashing him over the head with it in the final seconds of the game. Replays of the melee, however, showed that Rudolph tugged at the Cleveland Browns star's helmet first.
"I was just trying to get him off from on top of me," he reiterated when pressed on his actions.
Unlike Garrett, Rudolph escaped the incident without a suspension. He is expected to face a steep fine from the NFL and said he'll comply with whatever discipline is handed down.
The 24-year-old dismissed a query about whether he launched a verbal assault on Garrett that would have increased tensions right before the fight broke out.
"Definitely didn't say anything that escalated it," he said. "... I got to do a better job of keeping my composure in those situations. It was an unfortunate situation for both teams involved."
The Browns won the game 21-7, intercepting Rudolph four times. The Browns had lost the last eight meeting with the Steelers.
Myles Garrett hits Mason Rudolph with his helmet.
Fines and suspensions related to the brawl:
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