It is entirely possible for a generally good person to make unfortunate decisions in the heat of the moment, especially within the context of something like a football game, placed in both a physical and competitive environment.
That is the case that Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett tried to make for himself yesterday as he pled his case during the appeal process after being handed down an indefinite suspension for his actions on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
With just seconds left in a game that was clearly in-hand, Garrett illegally took Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph to the ground. He later would rip the quarterback’s helmet off and then later still strike him on the head with it as the scuffle continued to escalate, with Rudolph’s involvement in that.
While the second-year quarterback talked about the situation a bit immediately after the game, he addressed reporters yesterday, taking responsibility for losing his composure and the role he played in things continuing to escalate, also extending an olive branch to Garrett, whose actions he previously described as “bush league” and “cowardly”.
“I have no ill will towards Myles Garrett”, he told reporters during his media availability yesterday, via the team’s website. “Great respect for his ability as a player, and I know that if Myles could go back, he would handle the situation differently”.
“As for my involvement last week, there is no acceptable excuse”, he added. “The bottom line is I should’ve done a better job keeping my composure in that situation”.
Rudolph acknowledged that he has not spoken to Garrett since the incident—not that they normally would—but even still, that is not entirely surprising given the ongoing disciplinary ramifications still being addressed a week into the aftermath of the game.
More important, however, is the fact that there is a game to prepare for this week. The Steelers do face the Browns again two Sundays hence, but the next game is against another divisional opponent, and Rudolph, in so many words, echoed Bill Belichick when the Patriots head coach said, “we’re on to Cincinnati”.
“I understand there’s gonna be a few questions, but I think it’s in the best interest of the 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”, he told reporters.
Arguably the single biggest thing that the Steelers can do to improve their chances of winning their next game is for Rudolph to take better care of the football after throwing four interceptions against the Browns. That includes making better decisions about when and where to release the ball, not simply ball placement.