CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – For Mike Tomlin, the past is the past.
The Pittsburgh Steelers head coach declined to say much about last year’s ugly incident between Browns defensive end Myles Garrett and his backup quarterback Mason Rudolph, who will start Sunday in Cleveland.
“I will not address it,” Tomlin said Wednesday on a Zoom video conference with Cleveland reporters. There will be no need for that.”
Last November Garrett ripped Rudolph’s helmet off and hit him in the head with it during the closing seconds of a 21-0 Browns victory touching off a melee between the two teams.
The league office handed down over $1 million in fines to the organizations and players. Garrett was suspended indefinitely before being reinstated in February.
“That is so far in our rearview mirror that we can’t see it,” Tomlin said.
Prior to the Week 6 game, Garrett and Tomlin spoke briefly when the defensive end approached him but according to Garrett that incident was not part of the conversation.
For Tomlin, he has no interest reflecting on what took place or what impact it could have Sunday with Rudolph and Garrett back on the field together.
“Again, we left ’19 in ’19,” Tomlin said. “There is no residue from that from my perspective or our perspective.”
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski echoed Tomlin's feelings.
“I think we are well past that incident, both Myles and our team,” Stefanski said. “We talk about maintaining our composure in every single game. It is nothing new to this week. We have to make sure that we are keeping the main thing the main thing and focusing on our work.”
Full Strength – Rookie left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. and right guard Wyatt Teller returned to practice Wednesday.
“We are excited about it,” running back Nick Chubb said. “This team has been banged up from the beginning of the season and guys missing throughout the season. We are finally getting everybody back, and we are ready to play together.”
Wills was sidelined due to an illness that kept him from playing against the Jets while Teller is working his way back from an ankle injury that caused him to miss the last two games.
“Jedrick and Wyatt are special players for us,” quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “They are vital parts of our offense. It is going to be good to see if we can get them back in and be a part of this offense.”
Last week Wills spent time on the Reserve/COVID-19 list after being deemed a high-risk close contact but was activated on Saturday. He was sent home from New Jersey as a precaution after being ruled out Sunday morning.
The Browns listed Wills as a full participant Wednesday while Teller was limited.
Burning Question – Many Browns fans remain frustrated that last Sunday’s game with the Jets wasn’t postponed after the Browns lost their top four receivers as well as two rotational linebackers to Reserve/COVID-19 the day before their game.
Center and NFLPA president JC Tretter answered the question Wednesday.
“I think it has been pretty clear that games will not postponed because of some sort of competitive disadvantage due to high-risk close contacts,” Tretter said. “That has been cleared from the get go. We had an example in San Francisco, an example in Denver and two examples this week with Detroit and ourselves. That has been clear.”
As for the perception that the Titans and Ravens, who both violated protocols leading to outbreaks, benefitted from postponements, Tretter disagreed.
“I would argue the sentiment that teams that had full outbreaks that caused postponements was to their advantage,” Tretter said. “If there is active spread within a team and there is a lack of containment, it is not safe for that team to come back together, let alone put them with another team. You just can’t do that. That is what we have seen examples of games being postponed is when there is active spread and the virus is moving through and we can’t contain it. That is when you have to start pushing the game back because you can’t bring one team let alone two teams together.”
Harrison Activated – Safety Ronnie Harrison was activated from injured reserve Wednesday.
Harrison practiced and was limited Wednesday after being designated to return from IR on last week. He has missed the last four games due to a shoulder injury suffered against Jacksonville Nov. 29.
Injury Report – DNP: OT Kendall Lamm (illness), C Nick Harris (knee); LIMITED: LB Tae Davis (ankle), LB Sione Takitaki (ankle), LT Jack Conklin (knee), S Ronnie Harrison (shoulder), DT Sheldon Richardson (neck), LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring), RG Wyatt Teller (ankle), C JC Tretter (knee); FULL: LT Jedrick Wills