PITTSBURGH — Sunday will mark the primary time the Pittsburgh Steelers take the sector in opposition to Myles Garrett since final season’s ugly helmet-swinging altercation involving the Cleveland Browns move rusher and then-starting quarterback Mason Rudolph.
However coach Mike Tomlin and his group aren’t centered on final 12 months’s turmoil.
“They are a 4-1 group,” Tomlin mentioned Tuesday. “We’re attempting to stay undefeated. We’re not searching for that low-hanging fruit or that actuality TV storyline and so forth. This can be a huge sport right here in 2020.”
Tomlin is true. The Steelers are undefeated, whereas the Browns have only one loss. It is the second-best mixed win share (.889) in any sport involving the Browns in NFL historical past, based on ESPN Stats & Data.
“We love being within the kitchen,” Tomlin mentioned. “AFC North ball is within the kitchen. It is scorching within the North proper now.”
Final 12 months’s sequence was overshadowed by the altercation within the first assembly, approaching a Thursday evening, that resulted in fines and suspensions for each groups, together with a two-game suspension for heart Maurkice Pouncey, an indefinite suspension for Garrett that resulted in February and a $50,000 superb for Rudolph.
Garrett and Rudolph wrestled on the bottom for a second after Garrett sacked Rudolph late within the sport, and Rudolph pulled at Garrett’s helmet. Garrett then yanked Rudolph’s helmet off, and as teammates separated the pair, Garrett swung Rudolph’s helmet and struck the quarterback within the head.
Garrett alleged a number of occasions afterward that the brawl was sparked when Rudolph used a racial slur within the second, which Rudolph, his teammates, Tomlin and the whole group have strongly denied.
“Mason vehemently denies the report of being accused of utilizing a racial slur in the course of the incident,” the Steelers mentioned in a November assertion.
Garrett appealed his indefinite suspension and argued that Rudolph used the slur, however an NFL spokesman mentioned on the time that the league “discovered no such proof” that Rudolph used the slur and upheld the suspension. The struggle resulted in self-discipline of 33 gamers and fines amounting to $732,422.
Regardless of all of the drama, Tomlin mentioned he did not have to provide his group a particular message about final 12 months’s altercation forward of this matchup.
“There actually is not any message,” he mentioned. “My day-to-day existence sort of relays that message that you simply advised. There’s lots on the desk in reference to this sport, by way of stakes.”