AFC North Notes: Mason Rudolph, Myles Garrett, Steelers

     

Mason Rudolph/Myles Garrett

On Saturday, Steelers HC Mike Tomlin issued the following statement in support of QB Mason Rudolph after Myles Garrett doubled-down on his claim that Rudolph used a racial slur against him:

“I support Mason Rudolph not only because I know him, but also because I was on that field immediately following the altercation with Myles Garrett, and subsequently after the game. I interacted with a lot of people in the Cleveland Browns organization – players and coaches. If Mason said what Myles claimed, it would have come out during the many interactions I had with those in the Browns’ organization. In my conversations, I had a lot of expressions of sorrow for what transpired. I received no indication of anything racial or anything of that nature in those interactions transpired. I received no indication of anything racial or anything of that nature in those interactions.”

Rudolph later tweeted a denial: 

“1000% False. Bold-Faced Lie. I did not, have not, and would not utter a racial-slur. This is a disgusting and reckless attempt to assassinate my character.”

Rudolph’s agent and lawyer, Timothy Younger, also responded and implied that they could sue Garrett. 

“Mr. Garrett maliciously uses this false allegation to coax sympathy, hoping to be excused for what clearly is inexcusable behavior. Despite other players and the referee being in the immediate vicinity, there are zero corroborating witnesses — as confirmed by the NFL. Although Mr. Rudolph had hoped to move forward, it is Mr. Garrett who has decided to utter this defamatory statement — in California. He is now exposed to legal liability.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy tells Mike Florio that they investigated the claims made by Garrett last year.

“We checked with the officiating crew, including the ref who was on top of the play and the ensuing aftermath,” McCarthy said. “No player on either team came forward to say they heard him say it on the field. There was also no indication of any players saying they heard him say it in their postgame comments.”

Steelers

  • Bob Labriola of Steelers.com writes that Pittsburgh is “virtually certain” to use the franchise tag on OLB Bud Dupree in the coming weeks in the event they can’t reach an agreement on a long-term extension.
  • Labriola says the Steelers will either sign OLB T.J. Watt to an extension this offseason or pick up his fifth-year option for the 2021 season with the idea of working on a new deal over the next year or so.
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