CLEVELAND — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett probably will not be on each other’s lists for holiday cards, not after Thursday’s game between the AFC North Division rivals at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.
In the waning seconds of the Browns’ 21-7 win over the Steelers, Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet, but he did not stop there. Garrett swung and connected with Rudolph’s head, which escalated the situation quickly with Steelers lineman Maurkice Pouncey jumping into the fray.
“I thought it was cowardly and bush league,” Rudolph said of Garrett. “There is plenty of tape out there to watch. I haven’t seen it yet.
“I don’t know what the rules are. I know it was bush league and a total coward move on his part. It’s okay, I’ll take it. I’m not going to back down from any bully out there. We will see what happens.”
Rudolph dealt with concussion issues earlier in the season, but despite getting hit in the head by his own helmet, the quarterback says he is “good to go.”
The incident boiled over when Garrett brought the quarterback to the ground after a third-down play with eight seconds remaining in the game.
After the hit, Rudolph appeared to rip off Garrett’s helmet after delivering a couple of kicks below the belt of the Pro Bowl defensive end. Garrett responded by ripping off Rudolph’s helmet, swinging it at and connecting on the quarterback.
Steelers offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey tried to protect his quarterback and after Garrett ended up on the ground, he received several kicks to the helmet and absorbed multiple punches from the veteran interior blocker.
It was then that Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi escalated the situation further by pushing Rudolph to the ground, at which time, both benches cleared and a scrum ensued in the end zone that took several minutes to get under control.
Garrett, Pouncey and Ogunjobi were ejected for their actions.
“I got sacked, we exchanged some words, he kept keeping on and one thing led to another,” Rudolph said. “You can go back and watch the tape if you want and make your own assumptions.”
Not one to accept getting pushed around the football field, especially in the end of a two-score loss to a division rival, Rudolph kept after Garrett despite losing his helmet, which allowed the Pro Bowl defensive end to swing and connect on the quarterback.
“I felt like I had a bone to pick with him after what he did,” Rudolph said. “I wasn’t going to back down. I appreciate the offensive line always having my back and putting it to bed, but I was angry. I’m human.”