AVON, Ohio — While the Cleveland Browns slept off an ugly victory over their rival Pittsburgh Steelers, a former player was up early in support of his favorite coffee spot.
Former Browns left tackle Joe Thomas visited the Dunkin Donuts location in Avon Friday morning to help serve coffee to customers. While there, Thomas also addressed the fight that occurred between Myles Garrett, Mason Rudolph and Maurkice Pouncey Thursday night.
"Right now, there's an enormous amount of bad blood, primarily because of how that game ended in such an ugly manner with Myles Garrett hitting Mason Rudolph with his own helmet," Thomas said. "...Likely some really long suspensions coming for Myles Garrett specifically, potentially Maurkice Pouncey and some other players that were on the field."
Thomas added that he'd only seen a similar incident happen on the field once during his career, between teammates during training camp.
"There's just some things you don't do to a fellow brother in the NFL, and hitting them with a helmet or doing anything to try to harm them in that manner is just way out of bounds," Thomas said.
Thursday's fight started in the game's final eight seconds, when Garrett and Rudolph ended up in a skirmish on the ground. Rudolph was seen trying to pull off Garrett's helmet before Garrett retaliated, ripping off Rudolph's helmet and swinging it at his head. Rudolph was struck by his own helmet before Pouncey began throwing punches at Garrett, kicking him once he fell to the ground.
Thomas also touched on the high level of emotion that comes with a rivalry game between two teams from two cities with so much history.
"It's an incredibly intense rivalry that goes back long before most of these guys were even born," Thomas said. "Emotions run really high in these situations and in these games, and it's good to see that the rivalry is back a little bit, because it was so one-sided for so long with the Steelers winning so many of these."
The Browns and Steelers will meet again in 16 days, with the next match-up in Pittsburgh. Tension will undoubtedly be high in the next meeting, which Thomas said he's interested to see unfold in the coming weeks.
"There's definitely going to be some simmering emotions from this game when they meet in just a couple weeks," Thomas said.
On a lighter note, Thomas was excited to help Browns fans recover from a late night as he passed out coffee orders through the drive-thru. Though he said he only had three hours of sleep himself, Thomas signed autographs and posed for photos with fans
"I'm a big coffee fan, I'm a big fan of Dunkin Donuts coffee," he said. "They make some of the best coffee on Earth, so it's really exciting for me to come to the Avon Dunkin Donuts and pass out coffee and share the good news that Dunkin Donuts has about not only their great donuts and great breakfast sandwiches, but their fantastic coffee."