A rivalry already steeped in ill feelings got a lot uglier last month with the brawl between the Steelers and Browns in Cleveland.
On Sunday, the teams meet again in Pittsburgh, with both on the outskirts of playoff contention and needing a victory.
But the focal point, at least heading into the rematch a mere 17 days after the massive fight that resulted in Browns DE Myles Garrett being suspended indefinitely, is on how high the level of animosity might be. And whether it will impact the performances of the Steelers (6-5) and Browns (5-6).
“I know that it is going to be a lot of trash talking out there and a lot of guys are going to try and get into your head and do things to try and get you out of character,” Browns defensive back Denzel Ward said. “You just have to think about the betterment of the team and just go out there and win the game, but do not do any stupid penalties or anything toward the other team that could hurt this team.”