The Steelers spent Monday trying to distance themselves from Thursday night’s fight that led to multi-game suspensions for Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett and Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey. Cleveland DL Larry Ogunjobi also received a one-game suspension for shoving Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph to the ground, and both teams received $250,000 fines.
Browns DL Sheldon Richardson, however, decided to weigh in on Thursday’s fight on Monday, saying that Rudolph should be disciplined by the league for his role in the fight. Rudolph and Garrett engaged in a heated altercation before Garrett hit Rudolph in the head with Rudolph’s helmet.
Richardson, via USA Today, said that Rudolph “can’t antagonize a fight and then claim bullying. … You get what’s coming to you. He was protecting himself. I don’t blame him. Guy keeps rushing me, even with the helmet off, he’s asking for it. Just leave it at that.”
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora has reported that for his role in the fight. Rudolph’s role in the fight and whether he deserves any type of punishment was a hot button topic in the days immediately following the fight. Those in favor of punishment have said that Rudolph instigated the fight by igniting the altercation with Garrett when the two were on the ground. Rudolph then tried to remove Garrett’s helmet before Garrett responded by hitting Rudolph in the head with his own helmet. Rudolph’s supporters have stated that Rudolph had no choice but to act after Garrett remained on top of him well after Rudolph had thrown the ball to running back Trey Edmunds.
While Richardson wants Rudolph to be disciplined, Steelers defensive captain Cam Heyward, who openly lobbied for the league to suspend Garrett on Thursday night, did not offer a response when asked about the league’s decision to suspend Garrett for the remainder of the season. Heyward said that he is more focused on helping the Steelers right the ship after seeing their four-game winning streak come to an end.
“The most important thing is we lost that game,” Heyward said, via Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I know it got overshadowed by a lot of things, but as a defense, we didn’t play well. We were on the field too much. That’s our fault. They drove the ball and had a lot of success. You’ve got to learn from that. I’m not going to hide away from that.”
The Steelers and Browns were in the news for a different reason on Monday, as the NFL decidedin Pittsburgh from a 4:25 kickoff to a 1 p.m. start. Heyward said that he is already looking forward to facing the Browns again.
“I like the fact that we lost to them, so we get another shot to play them. I don’t care who we lose to, if they’re in our division, we get our shot [again],” Heyward said. “We’ve got to right the ship. I know we get them at home, and we’re thinking we have this great aura at Heinz Field, but we’ve got to put in the work. Only way that game means anything is if we win this game, so our focus has got to be on Cincinnati right now.”