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NFL Denies Myles Garrett's Claim That Mason Rudolph Slur Audio Is Being Withheld

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2020

Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) hits Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) with a helmet during the second half of an NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
David Richard/Associated Press

The NFL denied Saturday that it possesses any evidence of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph using a racial slur toward Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett during a Week 11 game last season.

ESPN's Jake Trotter provided the statement on Twitter:

Jake Trotter @Jake_Trotter

NFL statement, in light of Myles Garrett insinuating in the OTL interview that the league might be withholding evidence: https://t.co/jGbLGzpkzy

Late in Pittsburgh's 21-7 loss the Cleveland in Week 11 last season, Garrett pulled off Rudolph's helmet and hit him in the head with it. As a result, Garrett was suspended for the remainder of the season. The NFL reinstated him this week.

In quotes from an ESPN Outside The Lines interview with Mina Kimes (h/t Trotter) released Thursday, Garrett doubled down on his previous accusation that Rudolph baited him by using a racial slur: "He called me the N-word. He called me a 'stupid N-word.'"

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Myles Garrett sat down with @minakimes to discuss the Week 11 incident that led to his suspension. He again alleged Mason Rudolph of using a racial slur prior to the brawl. https://t.co/8FUKDbKIg4

Garrett added: "I know something was said. Now whether the NFL wants to acknowledge it, that's up to them. But I don't want to make it a racial thing, honestly. It's over with for me. And I'm pretty sure it's over with for Mason. So we just wanna move past and keep on playing football."

Rudolph took to Twitter on Saturday and once again denied using a racial slur:

Mason Rudolph @Rudolph2Mason

1000% False. Bold-Faced Lie. I did not, have not, and would not utter a racial-slur. This is a disgusting and reckless attempt to assassinate my character. https://t.co/mZcEcC0tCl

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Although the NFL found no evidence that Rudolph used a racial slur against Garrett, he was fined $50,000 for the role he played in the melee.

Garrett was on to beat his career-best single-season sack total (13.5) prior to the suspension with 10 sacks through 10 games. In his absence, the Browns went just 2-4 and finished the season with a disappointing 6-10 record.

Meanwhile, Rudolph was replaced by Devlin "Duck" Hodges as the Steelers' starting quarterback the following game, although he returned in Week 16 against the Jets before getting injured.

The Browns and Steelers met again two weeks after the incident involving Garrett and Rudolph, but with Garrett suspended and Rudolph not starting the game, tempers didn't flare.

The Browns and Steelers will face each other twice in 2020 as always, and Garrett will be back in the lineup barring injury. Rudolph figures to serve in a backup role provided veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returns to full health after missing all but two games last season.

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