Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph met with reporters and discussed last week's Thursday night brawl with the Cleveland Browns. Rudolph has yet to be fined by the NFL but the league is expected to fine him and other players for their involvement in the scuffle.
Rudolph said that there was no acceptable excuse for his role in the fracas that led to defensive end Myles Garrett's full-season suspension. In the altercation, Garrett ripped Rudolph's helmet off and hit the quarterback in the head with it.
Rudolph was not injured in the fight and avoided any suspension.
Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi was suspended one game for pushing Rudolph onto the ground. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was slapped with a three-game suspension for punching and kicking Garrett in Rudolph's defense.
Below is a transcription of some of the prepared statement that Rudolph read to reporters before answering questions:
“Before we get started, I had a couple of thoughts I wanted to share. Thursday night, to say the least, it was an unfortunate situation for everyone involved. I consider it a privilege, not a right, to be part of the NFL, to be part of a first-class organization representing the Rooney family and the Pittsburgh Steelers. I fell short of that expectation last Thursday night in how I played. I did not do a good enough job to help our team win the game. Looking back on the final play of the game, the second to the last play of the game, I fell short of the mark there too. I should have done a better job keeping my cool in that situation. In retrospect, I put Maurkice Pouncey, probably one of the best teammates I have ever had, in a tough spot, as well as my [other] teammates.
The way I saw it, on the final play of the game, with the game in hand the way it was. We had already lost two of our players to targeting penalties from the game," he added. "As I released the ball, I took a late shot, did not agree with the way he then took me to the ground. My natural reaction was to just get him off from on top of me. Again, I should have done a better job handling that situation. I have no ill-will towards Myles Garrett, great respect for his ability as a player. I know if Myles could go back, he would handle the situation differently.
As for my involvement last week, there is no acceptable excuse. The bottom line is I should have done a better job keeping my composure in that situation. I fell short of what I believe it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and a member of the NFL. I understand there are going to be a few questions, but I think it’s in the best interest of our team, my teammates, our coaches to kind of move forward from this and move things on to the Cincinnati Bengals and keep looking to try to stack some wins here. We’ll open it up for a few and then I have to head to walkthrough.”
Garrett met with the league in New York City to appeal his indefinite suspension. The meeting reportedly lasted less than two hours.