Browns pass-rusher rretMyles Gat says he wants to “clear the air” with Steelers backup quarterback Mason Rudolph “man-to-man” after what happened between them last November.
Garrett told Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot on Monday that he has been thinking for months about requesting a one-on-one meeting to try to get beyond the incident. Garrett tore Rudolph’s helmet off his head and hit him in the skull with it late in the fourth quarter of the AFC North rivals’ Week 11 game. Garrett insists he was reacting to hearing Rudolph call him the N-word; Rudolph has denied the slur allegation and has threatened through his attorney to sue Garrett for defamation.
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Garrett didn’t indicate in his interview with Cabot that he would apologize for hitting Rudolph or that he would expect Rudolph to apologize.
“It’d be like other instances where people agree to disagree,” Garrett told Cabot. “Just what I heard, just what you [Rudolph] said you said and that’s what it is. If you say you didn’t say that, that’s [OK], but that’s what I heard. It is what it is at the end of the day. We’re men and it shouldn’t be one situation that keeps you from respecting each other because you can’t look past that. If he wants to hold onto it, I’m not going to have any problems with him if he still has a problem with me.”
Garrett said in July when he signed a $125 million contract extension with Cleveland that he’d be willing to talk with Rudolph and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. He said then that the helmet incident was a “bump in the road” and that “won’t happen again.”
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He told Cabot this week he doesn’t want “any grudges” to result from the helmet swing, which he said will link the two players in perpetuity.
“And now our fates are intertwined forever, and so I don’t think we should leave it off like that, is my opinion. I feel like we should clear the air so there’s no problems and there’s no bad blood,” Garrett told Cabot. “Between our teams and our fans, the rivalry I feel like will live off of it, but between the players, I feel like it should always be competitive but never go over the line.”
The NFL suspended Garrett without pay for the final six games of the Browns’ 2019 season after the incident. He was reinstated in February. Garrett told Cabot he contemplated quitting football while he was away from the game and pursuing other interests, such as writing and community work. Ultimately, he said, he didn’t want to be defined by the Rudolph incident.
“I know that in my heart — and the people who have raised me [know] — that’s never who I’ve been,” he told Cabot.