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NFL 2020: Mike Tomlin dismisses 'reality TV storyline' as Pittsburgh Steelers prepare for Cleveland Browns

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns
Amaar Burton
ANALYST
Modified 14 Oct 2020, 04:34 IST
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The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns didn't need any more ammunition to fuel their longstanding rivalry, but they got it anyway in Week 11 last year.

In the closing seconds of what would be a Cleveland victory, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett got tangled up with Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph. What was said between the two is still a mystery, but something prompted Garrett to pull Rudolph's helmet off and hit Rudolph in the head with it.

Garrett was suspended for the rest of the season for his role in sparking a brawl that included several players.

The Steelers and Browns played again two weeks after the incident, but perhaps because Garrett wasn't there and Rudolph was on the bench -- having been replaced at QB by Devlin Hodges -- the game went by without any meaningful altercations.

This season's first meeting between the AFC North rivals is coming up this Sunday, and the Garrett-Rudolph fight was naturally brought up during an interview with Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

"We're not looking for that low-hanging fruit or that reality TV storyline," Tomlin was quoted by NFL.com. "This is a big game here in 2020."

The Steelers are 4-0, while the Browns are 4-1. For the first time in a long time, thanks to the Browns being much improved, this rivalry game actually has some significance and is a marquee matchup.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns: Key Matchup

Garrett has been great so far this season. He is considered a top contender for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Rudolph is still on the Steelers, but he's the second-string QB behind future Hall of Fame passer Ben Roethlisberger.

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Unless Big Ben gets hurt, it's unlikely Garrett and Rudolph will cross paths on Sunday. But the Pittsburgh Steelers' O-line, running backs and tight ends have to find a way to keep Garrett away from their veteran quarterback.

Tomlin didn't talk about Garrett in relation to last year's brawl. He only complimented the former No. 1 draft pick as a "freakish talent."

Garrett leads the league in total disruptions -- combined sacks, QB hurries and QB pressures.

In other words, even when he doesn't bring the QB down, he's making life miserable for opposing offenses. Garrett will aim to do the same this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers -- ideally with everyone keeping their helmets on.

Published 14 Oct 2020, 04:34 IST
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