The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will Myles Garrett’s accusation against Mason Rudolph have an effect on the Steelers’ games against the Cleveland Browns this season?
Most people, I would imagine, assume that the situation was all behind us once Myles Garrett was reinstated and Mason Rudolph had his appeal for his fine rejected. Instead, the Cleveland Browns defensive end decided to make the story nearly as big as it had ever been by going public in an interview last this week reiterating his claim that the Steelers quarterback called him a racial epithet.
We first learned of this accusation second-hand when it was leaked that Garrett had made this claim during his appeal hearing when he was trying to get his suspension reduced. He was forced to issue a statement acknowledging that this is what he was claiming.
That all died down in a matter of days, though. Now he is back in the NFL and making it clear that he is not over this, and that his side of the story is that Rudolph called him a “stupid N-word”, at some point prior to him hitting the quarterback over the head.
The question is, will we see this bleed in any way to the product on the field, the next time these two teams see each other in 2020? Football is a long way away from being played, so it’s impossible to say that it will have an influence. But these sides almost seem to be looking for excuses to not like each other.