The Pittsburgh Steelers' locker room rallied around Mason Rudolph on Thursday after it was reported that Myles Garrett had accused the quarterback of using a racial slur prior to the brawl on Thursday Night Football.
Defensive tackle and team captain Cameron Heyward said Rudolph told him he never used a racial slur. Heyward added that several Steelers offensive linemen corroborated the signal-caller's version of events, according to Dale Lolley of DK Pittsburgh Sports
"It's very serious," Heyward said of the allegation, per Chris Adamski of Trib Live. "We all have a brotherhood in this league, we all respect this league ... To use that (defense) as your appeal, and to think that's OK; one action doesn't deserve another.
"I know Mason didn't say it."
Steelers offensive tackle Matt Feiler was among those in the scrum with Rudolph and Garrett. He also came to his QB's defense.
"There's no way he said anything like that," Feiler said of Rudolph, according to Joe Rutter of Trib Live. "Mason's not that kind of guy."
Rudolph had been set to speak with reporters following Thursday's practice but wasn't made available, per Mark Kaboly of The Athletic.
On Wednesday, the 24-year-old pivot said he "definitely didn't say anything that escalated" the melee.
Garrett reportedly made the accusation during the appeal of his indefinite suspension, which was upheld on Thursday.
In Cleveland, Browns players were seemingly caught off-guard by the news.
Browns safety Damarious Randall and linebacker Joe Schobert said they were unaware of Garrett's allegation, though Randall added that he "figured there was a lot more to the story," according to Jake Trotter of ESPN.
For his part, Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens refused to divulge any conversation he's had with Garrett about the brawl.
"What Myles and I talk about will stay between Myles and I," Kitchens said. "I am sure that Myles presented himself professionally like he has done ever since the moment it happened afterward. He has been nothing but professional in his responses."