CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett has spoken out for the first time since being reinstated by the NFL earlier this week.
In a one-on-one interview with ESPN's Mina Kimes, Garrett spoke about the events that led up to his indefinite suspension for the brawl at the end of the Browns-Steelers game on Thursday Night Football in November. He reaffirmed that Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph used a racial slur toward him.
"He (Rudolph) called me the N-word," Garrett told Kimes during the interview. "He called me a 'stupid N-word.'"
After tackling Rudolph to the ground following a quick pass to running back Jaylen Samuels, Garrett became entangled with the Pittsburgh signal-caller, who proceeded to tug at his helmet.
From there, Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s own helmet before being separated by Steelers offensive lineman David DeCastro. But after Rudolph charged at the former No. 1 pick, Garrett hit him in the head with his own helmet before being tackled to the ground by Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey, who punched and kicked him.
After the game, ESPN's Adam Schefter and Josina Anderson reported that Garrett alleged that Rudolph provoked him by using a racial slur prior to the fight. Rudolph has denied the accusation.
Thursday night, Garrett expanded on his statement that Rudolph used a slur against him to Kimes.
"When he said it, it kind of sparked something, but I still tried to let it go and still walk away," Garrett said. "But once he came back, it kind of reignited the situation. And not only have you escalated things past what they needed to be with such little time in the game left, now you're trying to re-engage and start a fight again. It's definitely not entirely his fault, it's definitely both parties doing something that we shouldn't have been doing. I don't say the N-word, whether it's with 'a' [or] 'er.' To me personally, just shouldn't be said, and whether it's by family, friends, anyone. I don't want to use it because I don't want [people to] find that appropriate around me for anyone to use."
Three months after being suspended indefinitely, Garrett was reinstated on Wednesday.
“We welcome Myles back to our organization with open arms," Browns Vice President of Football Operations and general manager Andrew Berry said in a statement. "We know he is grateful to be reinstated, eager to put the past behind him and continue to evolve and grow as a leader. We look forward to having his strong positive presence back as a teammate, player and person in our community.”