Days after the Steelers and Browns' Thursday night game ended in a brawl, Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin is finally ready to address it.
"It was ugly," he said. "It was ugly for the game of football. I think all of us that are involved in the game, particularly at this level, want to safeguard and protect the game, its integrity. And in that instance, it was compromised, obviously, with an unfortunate incident.
"None of us want those incidents to transpire. It did. We were a part of it. We accept responsibility for our actions within it."
Tomlin declined to talk about the incident after the game on Thursday night and was hesitant to say much on Tuesday as players are waiting to appeal suspensions related to the fracas.
In the final seconds of the game, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett planted Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the turf at FirstEnergy Stadium. Rudolph appeared to reach for Garrett's helmet during a brief tussle between the players. As Rudolph stood up, Garrett ripped his helmet off and swung it at him, striking the quarterback in the head. Multiple players threw punches in retaliation and three, including Garrett, were ejected from the game.
Garrett received an indefinite suspension from the NFL for his actions, and Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi was given a one-game ban for his role in the incident. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey Pouncey got a three-game suspension after punching and kicking Garrett. The players are slated to appeal their suspensions on Wednesday.
Rudolph was not suspended for his role in the fight but is expected to be fined by the NFL.
When asked if his team could learn anything from the brawl, Tomlin brushed off the idea.
"Nothing to learn there," he said.
After he was asked what other teams could do to prevent fights in the future, he suggested the Browns were responsible for starting the brawl.
"I don't know," Tomlin said. "You've got to ask those guys. ...I don't know that we did anything to make it happen in the first place. That's why I said we didn't have anything to learn from it."