As expected, the Mason Rudolph-Myles Garrett story from last November in Cleveland has been a talking point heading into Sunday's Steelers-Browns game. It's hard to believe that the brawl took place almost a year ago, it feels like it took place five years ago in this never-ending year of 2020. One Browns' player has not lost sight of what occurred on that night last year by Lake Erie, however, as he hopes a win on Sunday over the Steelers will be one for Garrett and Browns fans.
"Nobody likes having their season cut short," Kareem Hunt said via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “I know I didn’t. I’m almost positive I know Myles wasn’t either. That’s the thing about that. Myles is a great player, a great person and a great teammate. You just learn a lot going through situations like that. You just have to come ready, forget about all that stuff and do whatever you can. This one is for Myles. This one is for Cleveland Browns fans. This one is for a lot of things.”
Hunt realizes that this is a huge AFC North game on Sunday against the Steelers, as both teams are on four-game winning streaks and are in the mix with the Ravens for the division title this year. Fans are allowed at Heinz Field now, albeit, they'll have just approximately 5,550 fans in attendance for Sunday's game, but it's for certain that a good amount of the Steelers fans in attendance will be letting Garrett know about their displeasures with him.
"Most definitely, but you’re right, last year doesn’t matter,'' Hunt said. “We have a new team, new coaches, new everything and a new record. We definitely have to come out, be ready to play, keep our emotions in check and keep playing in between the whistles. That is for everybody. We have to be smart. It is going to be a long, physical game.”
While Hunt is looking for a sentimental victory for Garrett, Baker Mayfield is just focusing on what lies ahead for them, and that's playing a 4-0 Steelers team.
"It’s about right now,'' Mayfield said. “We are always going to have our teammates' backs. We are worried about the right now, and we are playing the Steelers. We are not worried about what happened last year. We have moved on. Everybody wants to make the story of it, but we are focused on right now. The task at hand is playing the Steelers and doing our jobs to the very best we possibly can. That is the focus.”
Mike Tomlin and the Steelers have resonated with Mayfield's comments. What happened between Rudolph and Garrett is a 2019 issue and they are just focusing on their game on Sunday, which is a matchup between two highly talented teams.
"There really is no message," Tomlin said when asked about the fight between Mason Rudolph and Myles Garrett last year. "My day-to-day existence kind of relays that message. There is a lot on the table in reference to this game in terms of stakes. They are a 4-1 team. We're trying to remain undefeated. We're not looking for that low-hanging fruit or reality TV storylines. This is a big game here in 2020."
While it is a new year and the Rudolph-Garrett story is old news now, I'm sure the situation of last year will be in the back of some players' minds and they'll use it as extra motivation. Hunt may have, however, already put out bulletin board material for the Steelers.