CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – All eyes will be on Myles Garrett Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.
Garrett is enemy No. 1 after he got into a violent altercation with Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the closing seconds of a 21-7 Browns win Nov. 14 at FirstEnergy Stadium that saw the defensive end club Rudolph in the head with his own helmet.
Garrett has put the melee behind him.
The question is, have the Steelers?
“We will see when we play,” Garrett said Friday. “But I mean, their head coach said they are past it. We are past that as a team. We are just ready to go out there and play ball.”
Both teams have won their last 4 games – the Browns are 4-1, Pittsburgh 4-0 – and the winner potentially positions themselves as the primary challenger to the Ravens in the AFC North.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski, who has seen his team take on his business-like personality this season, is confident there won’t be any residual altercations.
“I think the guys are very well aware of what’s important Sunday [between] two really good football teams,” Stefanski said. “I think the guys have put the focus on the game because it’s a big one, because these two teams are playing. So I don’t think anything from the past is going to affect this game.”
Garrett served a six-game ban that cost him over $1 million in lost salary and fines. Over 30 players were fined by the league and each franchise had to cut a check for $250,000 following the ugly scene that unfolded on national TV and marred a rare Browns win in the once heated rivalry.
Garrett claimed he was baited with a racial slur uttered by Rudolph, an accusation the Steelers QB has vehemently denied. Cleveland’s premiere defensive end was asked Friday if he will try to clear the air with Rudolph, who has returned to his role as Ben Roethlisberger’s backup, Sunday.
“Have not thought about it,” Garrett said. “Focused on how I am going to get to Ben. I will cross that bridge when I come to it whether that is down the road or whenever we see each other. I am focused on the game plan and getting the win. That comes secondary.”
Garrett’s focus will be on getting to Roethlisberger, something he’s done three times in two games, and taking down the Steelers at Heinz Field for the first time in 16 years.
“I feel like I have got him a couple times personally but us as a team we have to pick it up and get some wins in their house,” Garrett said. “We have some confidence going in and I know they are confident with the record they have and it will be a good AFC matchup. I believe in the guys we have in our room and I think we can beat them.”
It stands to reason the Steelers will look to get under Garrett’s skin and bait him into a penalty or two.
He’s prepared to handle whatever they throw his way.
“Just play within the whistle,” Garrett said. “Do not be worried about what they are doing to frustrate or knock us off our game.
“I think they are going to play a clean, fair game and we are going to do the same.”