Has any star defensive player ever had such a contentious relationship with an opposing backup quarterback before the way that Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett has with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph?
It’s a ridiculous question to ask, and yet, especially given this week, a relevant one, as the two will be in the same building together for the first time since Garrett tried to make Rudolph’s head one with his own helmet toward the end of last season’s first meeting between the two teams.
The league did not take kindly to Garrett’s unholy experimental combination of skull and helmet that he attempted to perform on Rudolph, which resulted in their suspending him indefinitely. That ultimately lasted only through the end of the season, amounting to six total games.
Rudolph called Garrett’s actions ‘bush league’ after the game. It later came out that Garrett claimed Rudolph used a racial slur in reference to himself during his process of unsuccessfully appealing the indefinite nature of his suspension.
He could not deny it, and in fact, after his suspension was first lifted, he doubled down in his claim of what Rudolph said. Later on in an interview shortly before the season, he seemed to leave a little more wiggle room.
“It’d be like other instances where people agree to disagree”, he told the outlet. “Just what I heard, just what you said you said and that’s what it is. If you say you didn’t say that, that’s okay, but that’s what I heard. It is what it is at the end of the day”.
He also said that he wanted to extend an olive branch to Rudolph at some point. Asked about that last week heading into today’s game, he admitted, “I haven’t thought about it”. As of now, he has never made any effort to reach out of Rudolph, either to address the helmet swinging or the racial slur accusation.
“I thought about how to try to get to Ben, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it”, he added. “Whether that’s down the road or whenever we see each other. I’m just focusing on my gameplan and trying to get the win. That comes secondary”.
Garrett is currently second in the NFL with six sacks, behind only the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald, who is already making a strong push to claim his third Defensive Player of the Year Award with 7.5 sacks in the first five weeks.
The former first-overall pick has sacked Ben Roethlisberger three times, all in the 2018 season (he did not play Roethlisberger last season or during his rookie season). In other words, he has sacked Roethlisberger at least once every time he’s faced him.