"I took a late shot," Rudolph told reporters from a prepared statement. "Did not agree with the way he then took me to the ground. My natural reaction was just to get him off from on top of me."
Garrett was suspended for the rest of the season - and potentially more - after ripping off Rudolph's headgear and bashing him over the head with it in the final seconds of the game. Replays of the melee, however, showed that Rudolph tugged at the Cleveland Browns star's helmet first.
"I was just trying to get him off from on top of me," he reiterated when pressed on his actions.
Unlike Garrett, Rudolph escaped the incident without a suspension. He is expected to face a steep fine from the NFL and said he'll comply with whatever discipline is handed down.
The 24-year-old dismissed a query about whether he launched a verbal assault on Garrett that would have increased tensions right before the fight broke out.
"Definitely didn't say anything that escalated it," he said. "... I got to do a better job of keeping my composure in those situations. It was an unfortunate situation for both teams involved."
The Browns won the game 21-7, intercepting Rudolph four times before the two teams partook in the biggest NFL scrap in recent memory.