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

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - By Will Graves AP Sports Writer

PITTS­BURGH (AP) >> 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 the firstyear starter 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 in a blind-side hit from Cleve­land de­fen­sive tackle Larry Ogun­jobi.

In ad­di­tion to hand­ing out a record sus­pen­sion to Gar­rett, the NFL banned Pouncey for three games and or­dered Ogun­jobi to sit out on Sun­day when the Browns host Mi­ami. All three play­ers are ap­peal­ing. Ru­dolph said he has not been no­ti­fied of any fine for his ac­tions but will ac­cept what­ever pun­ish­ment the league metes out.

“I have no ill will to­ward Myles Gar­rett, great re­spect for his abil­ity as a player,” Ru­dolph said. “And I know if Myles could go back he would han­dle the sit­u­a­tion dif­fer­ently.”

Ru­dolph said he “def­i­nitely didn’t say any­thing” to es­ca­late the sit­u­a­tion with Gar­rett, call­ing the or­deal “an un­for­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion for both teams in­volved.”

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