The Cleveland Browns playoff hopes took a major hit after a stunning 20-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. But after the game, much of the talk was focused on the attire of their head coach in the days leading up to the game.
Browns first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens wore a shirt on the Friday before the matchup that said “Pittsburgh Started It” — an obvious reference to the brawl between the AFC North rivals after their first matchup that resulted in nearly $750,000 in fines and an indefinite suspension for Browns defensive end Myles Garrett.
The Steelers admitted that the move by Kitchens was bulletin board material and ripped him for it in the postgame.
“I know that our coach never would have done anything like that,” Steelers left guard Ramon Foster told ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. “Why throw gas? When you do something like that, you throw your players in harm’s way. He’s not on the field. You throw your players in harm’s way when you do stuff like that with a vengeance. And I hate that for them.”
Kitchens said he didn’t regret wearing the shirt and would do it again.
Emily Mayfield Says Reporter’s Focus Should be on Football
The Browns were also asked about the shirt, with quarterback Baker Mayfield responding: “I don’t really have a comment on that. It’s just a T-shirt. I’ve done much worse.”
Baker Mayfield’s wife, Emily, was among the Browns fans who were sick of the line of questioning after the game, sending a tweet to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, who asked Baker the question about Kitchens.
“Why is this the focus of your questions?” she wrote. “MUCH more to focus on than that.”
Cabot is the most popular Browns beat reporter with more than 175,000 followers on Twitter. She fired back at Emily Mayfield following the tweet.
“I asked exactly one T-shirt question after the game,” Cabot wrote. “I asked Baker what he thought of it, and he defended Kitchens, which I thought was pretty cool. He gave a great answer, saying ‘I’ve done much worse.’ Funny, and struck the right note.”
Emily Mayfield responded to another comment on the post asking what reporters should focus on, writing: “Football, in general, would be a good start.”
Baker Mayfield Avoid Major Injury Against Steelers
There was a serious issue at hand during the game, when Baker Mayfield exited the game against the Steelers just before the first half after banging his throwing hand on the helmet of a defender.
The X-rays came back negative of Mayfield’s hand and it’s being diagnosed as bruised. He played the second half with a glove on.
“It hit the facemask (of Bud Dupree) obviously with a little bit of speed and force trying to throw the long ball,” Mayfield told reporters postgame wearing a large wrap on his hand. “X-rays were negative so that’s good news. It got a little numb, took some medicine and went back out there so we’ll see.”
Mayfield completed 18-of-32 passes for 196 yards with one touchdown and one interception against the Steelers.