Steelers players don’t expect a continuation of hostilities with Browns

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On Sunday, the Browns and Steelers have a 17-day reunion of their last meeting, the one that ended with Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett bashing Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph over the head with his own helmet, sparking a melee that led to two other suspensions and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

So when they get together again, will the fighting continue?

I don’t feel like it would,” Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree said this week, via Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Just because the person who did it is not going to play.”

The person who did it — Garrett — has been suspended for the rest of the 2019 season, and possibly beyond. Some Browns fans continue to insist Rudolph started it. He has been benched, however, and most likely won’t be playing on Sunday, barring injury to Devlin Hodges or complete ineffectiveness.

The Steelers nevertheless insist that they started nothing.

“We’re never the initiators of that,” offensive lineman Ramon Foster told Adamski. “Look back and see, I don’t think so. People always want to get their rocks off against us. For whatever reason if that’s how they feel, so be it. We’re not going to be the idiots getting penalties this weekend, I know that for sure.”

“We’re all professionals,” safety Minkah Fitzpatrick told Adamski. “We know how to carry ourselves. We’re grown men. We’re going to put emotions aside, hard feelings aside, everything else aside. It might put a little more fuel in the fire, obviously, but I don’t think there’ll be any unnecessary actions like there were the first game.”

The officials surely will be looking, and with real-time input from the league office they’ll likely have a quick thumb to send to the showers anyone who steps over the line. Ultimately, the bigger concern could be in the stands, where Browns and Steelers fans surely will be engaged in hostile debates that make those Thanksgiving dinner politics discussions look like a conversation between a pair of annoyingly polite cartoon gophers.