Mason Rudolph and Myles Garrett are meeting again.
More than a year after Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet and swung it at him in the final second of a Steelers-Browns game last November, the two will face off on Sunday in a must-win for the Browns. With the AFC North wrapped up for the Steelers (12-3), coach Mike Tomlin has opted to rest Ben Roethlisberger for Week 17, springing the second-string Rudolph into action while Cleveland tries to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2002.
“Given an opportunity to airmail a player or two into the postseason, we’ll do that,” Tomlin said in his Zoom press conference.
The incident last season resulted in a six-game suspension for Garrett and a $50,000 fine for Rudolph. Garrett claimed after the game that Rudolph called him a racist slur, which the quarterback strongly denied.
Garrett now would be happy to clear the air with Rudolph.
“If it were to happen, I’d be fine with it,” he said, according to Cleveland.com. “Not just fine, but I wouldn’t mind it and I’d be happy to make it happen, if there were a way. I’m not sure how I’d go about that, how I’d broach that. I’m not even sure if he’d want to do that but I wouldn’t have a problem sitting down with him and just not talking about the incident, just talking man-to-man, how we move forward, and just being better men and football players and not letting something like that happen again.
For his part, Rudolph may be less keen on shaking hands and moving on.
“I couldn’t believe he would go that route [accusing him of using a racist slur] after the fact,” Rudolph said last year.
The Browns (10-5) made life much tougher for themselves by losing to the Jets last week, but should now have a better chance at securing a playoff spot with the Steelers taking it easy.