CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett plans to spend some quality time with a Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback on Sunday -- perhaps just not the one you think.
While media and fans alike focus on Garrett's first game against the Steelers since his fight with Mason Rudolph that resulted in a season-ending suspension last year, the No. 1 pick of the 2017 NFL Draft is more concerned with getting to Pittsburgh's current starter, Ben Roethlisberger. As for his reunion with Rudolph, who he infamously hit over the head with his own helmet during an on-field scuffle last November, Garrett said he hasn't put much thought into whether he'll approach the Steelers reserve signal-caller.
"I haven't thought about it," Garrett said during a Zoom call with reporters on Friday. "I'm focused on how I'm going to get to Ben, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, whether that's down the road or whenever we see each other. I'm just focused on our gameplan and getting the win. That comes secondary."
While Garrett and Rudolph publically apologized to one another in the aftermath of the fight, which occurred in the closing seconds of a primetime matchup on Thursday Night Football, bad blood ultimately remained. As recently as this past February, Garrett alleged that Rudolph had called him racial slur during the incident, an accusation that Rudolph has denied.
But in the lead up to Garrett's first game in Pittsburgh since the fight, both the Browns and Steelers have insisted they have moved past the altercation. Earlier this week, Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin said his team wasn't holding onto the grudge against Garrett, an assessment that the Texas A&M product is taking at face value.
"We'll see when we play," Garrett answered when asked if he believed Tomlin. "Their head coach said they're past it. We're past it as a team and just want to go out and play ball."
Of course, even if the Steelers have moved on from last November, that doesn't mean their fans have. And even though there will only be a limited number of fans in attendance on Sunday due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Garrett doesn't have any delusions about the reaction he'll receive.
"I mean, we're the Browns," he said with a laugh. "I expect to get booed."