But at his media session yesterday, Rudolph was anything but fiery. In fact, he was conciliatory, referring to Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett a “great player” and “very disruptive.”
“When they are playing at their best, he’s sack-fumbling, he’s getting to the quarterback,” noted Rudolph, referring to the Browns and their Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
Rudolph even indicated that he “would be happy to hear Myles out if he wants to approach me and if he wants to talk.”
There certainly would be plenty to discuss, seeing as Garrett hit Rudolph over the head with his own helmet during last November’s Steelers-Browns tilt at FirstEnergy Stadium, then proceeded to accuse Rudolph of calling him “the n-word” during the melee that followed. Garrett even doubled-down on that accusation back in February, though Rudolph has repeatedly denied the allegation and the NFL found no evidence that he ever uttered a racial slur.
Prior to the 2020 regular season, Garrett indicated he would like to have a face-to-face with Rudolph, but that doesn’t seem likely to happen, as Garrett could have approached Rudolph when the teams met at Heinz Field on October 18th, a game the Steelers won 38-7.
Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski Names Myles Garrett Captain
Meanwhile, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski perhaps did light a fire under the Steelers when he announced that Garrett will be a captain on Sunday because “it’s a big game and we want to send the big guy out there.”
It seems a strange decision for Stefanski to troll Rudolph and the Steelers by selecting Garrett to serve in that role. (The Browns choose a new captain for each game, as compared to many other NFL teams, who select season-long captains.)
There was no reason to get the Steelers any more “fired up” than they would normally be for a game against the Browns, not when Cleveland needs a win to ensure inclusion in the postseason for the first time since 2002.
Couldn’t the Browns just be happy to avoid Ben Roethlisberger, who until November was the winningest quarterback in FirstEnergy Stadium history. (Never mind that he has a 24-2-1 career record vs. the Browns, which doesn’t include the 30-9 drubbing at Heinz Field in 2015, when a hobbled Big Ben came on in relief of an even-more-injured Landry Jones and threw for 379 yards and three touchdowns.)
Myles Garrett on Being Captain Against the Steelers
Even Myles Garrett seemed to want to soft-pedal Stefanski’s decision to name him captain for Sunday’s game versus the Steelers.
Per Camryn Justice, digital content producer for WEWS in Cleveland, Garrett indicated he wanted to be captain for the game against the Dallas Cowboys back in October, but “that kind of slipped coach’s mind.” So, his second-choice game was, as he put it, “the last one.”
Now if the Steelers go on to beat the Browns and Cleveland misses the chance to go to the playoffs (despite a double-digit win total), the captaincy decision might be seen as an extension of the “Pittsburgh Started It” T-shirt controversy.
You may recall that then-Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens was photographed wearing a “Pittsburgh Started It” T-shirt at a movie theater two weeks after the Myles Garrett-inspired melee at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Days later, the Steelers vanquished the Browns at Heinz Field, winning by a score of 20-13. After the game, Steelers right tackle David DeCastro told the media that Kitchens’ shirt provided the Steelers with “bulletin board material” and was a “pretty stupid” thing to do.
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