Whether Mason Rudolph directed a racial slur at Myles Garrett before the Cleveland Browns defensive end hit the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback in the head with his own helmet dominated discussions and headlines in the aftermath of Cleveland's 21-7 win on Nov. 14, and one Browns player added another layer to the story Sunday.
Cleveland defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi revealed Garrett told him about the alleged racial slur right after the first game between the AFC North rivals, per Jason Lloyd of The Athletic.
"You've got to remember, nobody has ever gone through this process before," Ogunjobi said following Pittsburgh's 20-13 win in Sunday's rematch. "It's our third year; we've never had something like that happen. I feel like he's upset people were calling him a liar. That's not something to joke about. He's not that type of person."
Lloyd noted Ogunjobi is one of Garrett's closest friends on the team and was unavailable to the media while other Browns players said they hadn't heard about the allegation because he was serving a one-game suspension until after Sunday's contest.
Garrett was ultimately suspended indefinitely and will not play for the rest of the season, while Rudolph avoided a suspension but was fined.
Josina Anderson and Adam Schefter reported Garrett said during the appeal process that Rudolph used a racial slur, but the league "found no such evidence."
Garrett released a statement that explained he did not believe his allegation would become public knowledge while accepting responsibility for his actions and adding, in part, "I know what I heard."
"It's totally untrue," Rudolph told reporters last Sunday. "I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe he would go that route after the fact."
Rudolph's attorney, Timothy M. Younger, also vehemently denied his client used a slur:
The fight served as the backdrop for Sunday's rematch, and Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens was photographed with a shirt saying "Pittsburgh started it" before his team's loss. Nick Shook of NFL.com noted multiple Steelers players wore "Free Pouncey" shirts in reference to center Maurkice Pouncey, who was suspended for his part in the brawl.
On the field, Pittsburgh improved to 7-5 with the win and held onto the final AFC wild-card spot. The Browns are 5-7 and staring at an uphill climb to get back into the postseason picture.