Tomlin: Steelers accept role in melee with Browns

NFL

PITTSBURGH — Steelers coach Mike Tomlin opened his weekly news conference accepting responsibility for his team’s role in Thursday night’s melee with the Cleveland Browns.

“It was ugly,” said Tomlin, who had refused to take any questions about the incident directly after the game. “It was ugly for the game of football. I think all of us that are involved in the game, particularly at this level, want to safeguard and protect the game, its integrity. And in that instance, it was compromised, obviously, with an unfortunate incident.

“None of us want those incidents to transpire. It did. We were a part of it. We accept responsibility for our actions within it.”

Because players, including center Maurkice Pouncey, are appealing suspensions, Tomlin declined to elaborate much more than that. Pouncey was given a three-game suspension, while Myles Garrett, who struck Mason Rudolph in the head with the quarterback’s own helmet, was given an indefinite suspension. Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi was suspended for one game.

All three are expected to have their appeals heard this week, and the league is also expected to hand down fines to other players involved in the fight, including Rudolph.

Tomlin rebuffed the idea that the game-ending fight could be used as a teachable moment for his team.

“Nothing to learn there,” he said.

He was also asked if there was anything coaches around the league could do to prevent anything like that from happening in the future.

“I don’t know,” Tomlin said. “You’ve got to ask those guys. … I don’t know that we did anything to make it happen in the first place. That’s why I said we didn’t have anything to learn from it.”

The two teams will meet for a rematch in less than two weeks when the Steelers host the Browns on Dec. 1.

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