Steelers’ Rudolph: ‘No acceptable excuse’ for role in brawl

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Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) takes Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph's (2) helmet off during the second half of an NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

PITTSBURGH, PA – Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph wanted to get away from Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett.

The way Rudolph went about it — a process that contributed to a brawl that culminated with Rudolph getting smacked in the head with his own helmet and led to Garrett getting suspended by the NFL indefinitely — is one of the first-year starter’s regrets.

Saying “there is no acceptable excuse,” Rudolph said his behavior in the final moments of last Thursday’s 21-7 loss to the Browns fell short of the standard set by the league and the Steelers.

“The bottom line is I should have done a better job keeping my composure in that situation,” Rudolph said Wednesday while reading from a prepared statement before briefly taking questions from reporters.

Garrett and Rudolph became entangled on the next-to-last Steelers snap of Cleveland’s lopsided 21-7 victory. Rudolph flipped a short pass to running back Jaylen Samuels just before getting hit by Garrett, who twisted Rudolph to the ground as play continued downfield.

Rudolph took exception to Garrett wrapping him up, calling it “late.” Rudolph said he was trying to separate himself from Garrett — who was not flagged on the play — when he briefly grabbed the back of the 6-foot-4, 272-pound Garrett’s helmet.

“It was the last play of the game and I was just trying to get him from off on top of me,” Rudolph said.

Garrett responded by tugging at Rudolph’s facemask, eventually ripping it off and holding it high while Steelers guard David DeCastro attempted to separate them. Rudolph scrambled to his feet and gave chase in an apparent attempt to retrieve his helmet. Garrett then swung the helmet at Rudolph, connecting on the right side of Rudolph’s head. The chaos that followed included Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey punching and kicking Garrett and Rudolph getting knocked to the ground by a blind-side hit from Cleveland defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi.