Mason Rudolph says he 'did not agree' with how Myles Garrett hit him, but should have kept composure

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph shared a prepared statement with the media on Wednesday regarding his role and responsibility for the brawl that closed out the Steelers loss to AFC North rival Cleveland Browns last Thursday night.

Rudolph said after the game it was “cowardly” and “pretty bush league” for Browns defensive end Myles Garrett to begin hitting Rudolph in the head with his own helmet. In his first comments since the end of the game, he said he holds no ill will toward Garrett and is also at fault for not keeping his composure.

Rudolph took exception to way he was hit

The terrifying fight erupted when Garrett forcefully took Rudolph to the ground after having already delivered the ball. Rudolph began grabbing at Garrett’s helmet, and in return Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s and began hitting him with it.

Rudolph explained why he did that in the first place and that it “fell short of that expectation” that goes with being in the Steelers organization.

Rudolph’s prepared statement in full:

“To say the least, it was an unfortunate situation for everyone involved. I consider it a privilege, not a right, to be in the NFL. To be part of a first-class organization representing the Rooney family and the Pittsburgh Steelers. And I fell short of that expectation last Thursday night. In retrospect, I put Maurkice Pouncey, probably one of the best teammates I’ve ever had, in a tough spot as well as my teammates.

“The way I saw it, on the final play of the game, with the game in hand the way it was, it had been — we had already lost two of our players to targeting penalties in the game. As I released the ball, I took a late shot [and] did not agree with the way he then took me down to the ground. My natural reaction was to get him off from on top of me. And again, I should have done a better job handling that situation.

“I have no ill will toward Myles Garrett. Great respect for his ability as a player. I know if Myles could go back, he would handle this situation differently.

“For my involvement last week, there’s no acceptable excuse. The bottom line is I should have done a better job keeping my composure in that situation. And it falls short of what I believe it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and member of the NFL.”

Rudolph reiterated later while answering a question that he didn’t like how he was taken down late on what was essentially the final play of the game. There was eight seconds on the clock and Pittsburgh trailed by two touchdowns. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson, who was bleeding out of his ear after a helmet-to-helmet hit that got Damarious Randall ejected, had both entered concussion protocol in the game.

Rudolph took a scary hit that knocked him unconscious earlier this season. When asked if he rewatched it and realized how worse it could have been, he 24-year-old said "I was probably fortunate on the way it went down."

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Steelers, Browns fight during 'TNF'
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 14: Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) takes Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) to the ground as Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Matt Feiler (71) reacts during the fourth quarter of the National Football League game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns on November 14, 2019, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 14: Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) takes Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) to the ground during the fourth quarter of the National Football League game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns on November 14, 2019, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 14: Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) takes Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) to the ground as Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Matt Feiler (71) reacts during the fourth quarter of the National Football League game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns on November 14, 2019, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 14: Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) takes Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) to the ground as Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Matt Feiler (71) reacts during the fourth quarter of the National Football League game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns on November 14, 2019, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 14: Referee Clete Blakeman (34) throws a flag as Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) swings the helmet of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) as Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard David DeCastro (66) and Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Matt Feiler (71) battle Garrett during the fourth quarter of the National Football League game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns on November 14, 2019, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 14: Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) attempts to remove the helmet of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) as Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard David DeCastro (66), Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Matt Feiler (71) and referee Clete Blakeman (34) come to Rudolphs aid during the fourth quarter of the National Football League game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns on November 14, 2019, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 14: Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) pulls the face mask of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) as Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard David DeCastro (66), Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Matt Feiler (71) and referee Clete Blakeman (34) come to Rudolphs aid during the fourth quarter of the National Football League game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns on November 14, 2019, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, left, is grabbed by Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard David DeCastro (66) after Garrett pulled the helmet off Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Cleveland. The Browns won 21-7. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) pulls the helmet off Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Cleveland. The Browns won 21-7. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) reacts after swinging a helmet at Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Cleveland. The Browns won 21-7. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) hits Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) with a helmet during the second half of an NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) goes after Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) during the second half of an NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Cleveland. The Browns won 21-7. (AP Photo/David Richard)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - NOVEMBER 14: Quarterback Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers fights with defensive end Myles Garrett #95 of the Cleveland Browns during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 14, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Steelers 21-7. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Is Rudolph at fault for starting fight?

While Rudolph spoke to the media in Pittsburgh, Garrett was in New York City at an appeals hearing for his indefinite suspension that runs at least through this season. Larry Ogunjobi was also suspended for the Browns and Rudolph’s center, Pouncey, was suspended three games for kicking Garrett while he was pinned to the ground after the fight.

Each franchise was fined $250,000 and more fines are reportedly coming.

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Omitted from that initial punishment list, much to the anger of many, was Rudolph. The quarterback took heat for pulling on Garrett’s helmet and possibly initiating the fight in the first place. Browns defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said Sunday that Rudolph “can’t antagonize a fight and then claim bullying” and Garrett was simply protecting himself.

Adding to the fuel is that these teams meet again on Dec. 1 in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are moving on to Cincinnati, as Rudolph told reporters.

Mike Tomlin addressed it for the first time Tuesday, saying he’s not sure his team “did anything to make [the fight] happen in the first place.”

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