Browns' Freddie Kitchens Defends Wearing 'Pittsburgh Started It' Shirt

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2019

Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens answers questions during a news conference after an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Pittsburgh. The Steelers won 20-13. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Don Wright/Associated Press

Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens was adamant that his T-shirt choice is not the reason his team lost 20-13 to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

"I wore a T-shirt," he said, per Nick Shook of "I wore a jacket with it. My daughters wanted me to wear the shirt. And I'd wear it again. I put a jacket on, I covered it up. I took a picture with a fan. That was as simple as that. T-shirt didn't cause us to give up 40-yard passes, and we were ready to play. That's the only thing people need to be concerned about. We were ready to play."

The T-shirt he mentioned was the one he was photographed wearing that said "Pittsburgh started it" in reference to the brawl between the two teams in their first matchup.

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was suspended indefinitely after hitting Mason Rudolph in the head with the quarterback's own helmet during the brawl. Rudolph vehemently denied he used a racial slur prior to Garrett's actions.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Kitchens' shirt wasn't the only clothing choice that made headlines.

Shook noted there were multiple Steelers players who arrived wearing "Free Pouncey" shirts in reference to center Maurkice Pouncey's suspension for his role in the brawl. He went after Garrett after the defensive end hit Rudolph with the helmet. Pouncey was given a three-game suspension that was reduced to two upon appeal.

Pittsburgh offensive guard Ramon Foster said he was glad head coach Mike Tomlin didn't do what Kitchens did:

It was a critical win for the Steelers, who improved to 7-5 and two games ahead of the Browns in the AFC wild-card race. Cleveland is also looking up at the Tennessee Titans, Oakland Raiders and Indianapolis Colts in the race for the final playoff spot and will need plenty of help to reach the playoffs.

The Browns still play the 1-11 Cincinnati Bengals twice this year, but Sunday was a serious blow to their playoff chances.