After Thursday night’s loss to the Browns, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin declined to discuss the melee that broke out late in the fourth quarter but he had a little more to say about it at a Tuesday press conference.
Tomlin called the fight “ugly for the game of football” and that the Steelers “accept responsibility for our actions” during the fracas. Tomlin didn’t detail those actions because “we have some people going through appeals” this week.
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was suspended three games for kicking and punching Browns defensive end Myles Garrett after Garrett hit Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with the helmet he’d been wearing before Garrett tore it off. Garrett has been suspended for at least the rest of the regular season and Browns defensive end Larry Ogunjobi was suspended for one game for hitting Rudolph from behind during the incident.
All three players are appealing their suspensions and many others are expected to be fined. That group includes Rudolph, who tried to rip Garrett’s helmet off earlier in the fight and who some thought should have been suspended for sparking the melee. Tomlin didn’t specifically respond to that, but it didn’t sound like he agrees with that stance when asked what the Steelers might learn from what went on last Thursday.
“I don’t know that we did anything to make it happen anyway in the first place. That’s why I said we didn’t have anything to learn from it,” Tomlin said.
The Steelers will learn whether Pouncey’s penalty is altered at all at some point this week, but it is a good bet that he’s not going to have the penalty entirely wiped out so the Steelers will need other plans in Cincinnati this weekend.