BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett said Friday that he’s gotten over last year’s incident against the Steelers in which he ripped the helmet off Mason Rudolph and slugged the Pittsburgh quarterback in the head with it.
Garrett, who received a season-ending suspension for the incident, said he’s expecting a clean game for Sunday’s rematch in Pittsburgh.
“We’ll see when we play,” Garrett said. “But their head coach [Mike Tomlin] said they’re past it. We’re past it as a team. We’re ready to go out there and play ball.”
Garrett missed the final six games of the season, was fined $45,623 and lost roughly $1.2 million in lost salary for the incident, which came in the closing seconds of Cleveland’s 21-7 victory last Nov. 14.
Privately in appealing his suspension, and later publicly on ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Garrett accused Rudolph of inciting him by calling him the “the N-word.” Both Rudolph and Tomlin have denied the accusation.
On Tuesday, Tomlin said last year’s incident wouldn’t have any impact on Sunday’s game and that his team was “not looking for that low-hanging fruit or that reality TV storyline.”
Garrett said that he’ll be focused on playing “within the whistle.”
“[We won’t] be worried about what they’re doing to frustrate or knock us off our game,” Garrett said. “But I think they’re going to play a clean, fair game, and we’re going to do the same.”
Garrett said he doesn’t expect a warm welcome from the 6,000 fans that will be allowed inside Heinz Field on Sunday.
“I mean, we’re the Browns,” Garrett said. “I expect to get booed.”
The Browns (4-1) are off to their best start since 1994, and the Steelers are 4-0 for the first time since 1979, when they went on to win the Super Bowl.
Cleveland, however, has not won in Pittsburgh in 17 years.
“We get a win there,” Garrett said, “[and] most people would give us some respect and see us as a legit team across the league.”
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