Bengals LB Germaine Pratt Apologizes For Words About Joseph Ossai After Game-Changing Penalty: ‘I Wasn’t A Great Teammate’

The Cincinnati Bengals’ 2022 season ended on a 45-yard field goal by kicker Harrison Butker, who as of this writing is the fourth-most accurate kicker in the history of the NFL. The field goal attempt would have been from 60 yards, assuming they didn’t run another play with eight seconds left, were it not for a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty.

Bengals defender Joseph Ossai was flagged for shoving Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes while out of bounds at the end of a five-yard scramble on 3rd and 4, going out of bounds at the Cincinnati 42. The penalty put the ball at the 27 in a 20-20 tie game.

Ossai, a second-year former third-round pick out of Texas, was understandably beside himself, telling reporters after the game that he didn’t realize where he was on the field. That didn’t stop teammate Germaine Pratt, a fourth-year veteran starter, from voicing his frustration heading to the locker room, for which he’s since apologized.

“Why the fuck would you touch the quarterback?”, he was captured on video taken by Spectrum News 1 reporter Katie Kapusta as yelling as the Bengals entered the locker room after the loss. He also appeared to express frustration over this possibly being his last season with the team, now a pending free agent, and the implications of what that could mean for his chances of reaching the Super Bowl again.

Shortly after that video went viral, he commented on social media, explaining in part, “I have real feelings sometimes they are raw. If you love something as much I do sometimes things will be said in the heated of the moment. But I know what type of teammate I am”.

He told reporters earlier this week, however, a slightly revised story. “I was emotional”, he told Shelby Dermer of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I was in the moment. As a man, you can look yourself in the mirror and say I was wrong. I wasn’t a great teammate in that moment”.

Of course, we can debate whether or not there should even be cameras allowed in that area as players are exiting the field and heading into the locker room, an area that is intended to be a private space except when explicitly designated otherwise with reporter access.

Ossai saw his first playing time this season, logging over 300 defensive snaps over 16 games as a reserve and registering 17 tackles with 3.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, and a batted pass. Pratt played in and started 15 games this season, logging 724 snaps with 99 tackles, including six for loss, with a sack, two interceptions, 10 passes defensed, and a forced fumble.

When Ossai spoke to reporters after the game, teammate B.J. Hill stood right next to him in support and played PR man, bouncing away questions he felt were frivolous or unnecessarily pointed. Head coach Zac Taylor after the game wouldn’t even discuss the play except to say that they didn’t lose the game because of any one play.

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