This is not the first time that the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns have faced each other since Myles Garrett tried to rearrange Mason Rudolph’s face. In fact, they met just two weeks after the fact. But it is the first time that Garrett will be back on the field against the Steelers since then, as he served a six-game suspension that ran through the end of last season following that altercation.
According to both sides, neither of them are spending much time thinking about it heading into the game, even though it’s about all the media has been able to ask. Vince Williams was the latest to handle the question earlier today for the Steelers’ side.
“We’re completely past it”, he said. “What happened in 2019 was 2019. We have enough problems to deal with this year, and we’re not really looking back. We’re not looking in the rearview mirror about what happened last year”.
Rudolph’s teammates were very upset after that game, but Garrett was disciplined for what he did. In fact, his indefinite suspension, which turned out to be six games, is the single largest suspension any player has ever been given for one single on-field infraction in the history of the game. Of course, it may have been the most egregious on-field action in NFL history as well.
The Browns’ second game against the Steelers last year was at Heinz Field, but Garrett, of course, was not there. Asked today what he expects in terms of a reception from the fans, even if there will be few, has said, “I mean, we’re the Browns. I expect to get booed”.
On facing the Steelers for the first time since the incident, and whether or not he anticipates there being anything extracurricular between the lines, he was not expecting anything out of the ordinary. “We’ll see when we play, but their head coach said that they’re past it”, he said. “We’re past it as a team, and we’re just ready to go out there and play ball”.
In terms of actual football, Garrett has been playing at a high level this season. He is second only to Aaron Donald in sacks with six through five games (Donald has 7.5). His three forced fumbles are also tied for the most in the NFL. The Steelers as a team, by comparison, have forced one fumble so far this season.