Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin appeared on ESPN’s first take Monday morning to defend quarterback Mason Rudolph against the allegations brought up against him again over the weekend. Tomlin spoke with Stephen A. Smith about the situation and his reaction to the reiteration of the allegations this past weekend.
“I took offense to it to be quite honest with you.” Tomlin stated. “We’ve had a desire to move on from the moment it happened. That’s what we attempted to do. When this interview came back up this weekend, we thought Mason needed to be defended.”
As much as Tomlin would like to move on from the situation, when Myles Garrett took the opportunity to go on ESPN with, as Rudolph called it, an “attempt to assassinate his character”, Tomlin felt there were multiple pieces of the story which were not being reported. Tomlin took great offense to the panel on ESPN’s Outside The Lines and how they failed to mention the conclusion of the investigation by the NFL.
“These accusations are serious. Not only in terms of Mason Rudolph’s character, but his professional pursuits. Nobody on that field, as a member of the Cleveland Browns or the Pittsburgh Steelers corroborated what Myles Garrett said. That was founded by us and the National Football League.”
Tomlin went on to explain how the story concocted later by Garrett didn’t fit into how these situations usually transpire following an incident of this nature.
“I was on the field immediately after that altercation and subsequently after the game. I’ve got a lot of personal relationships within that organization over there in Cleveland. At no point did anyone within that organization come forward and say, ‘Mike, heads up, we’ve got a situation here,’ or something of that nature that you would expect that comes with those type of allegations.”
Tomlin continued his frustrations towards the rehashing of the story and ESPN’s handling of the situation over the weekend.
“I fully support Mason Rudolph. We, as an organization, fully support Mason Rudolph. To be quite honest with you, we were hacked off with what we saw this weekend.”
Tomlin made sure he continued to raise the point that the Steelers we compliant with the NFL and their investigation of the incident which concluded there was no evidence to support Garrett’s claim.
“We received word from those guys (The NFL) and we took them at their word that a thorough investigation was done and no evidence was founded.”
When asked about Rudolph’s punishment from the incident, Tomlin implied that, even though he had his role in the altercation, Rudolph has been blamed for more than what actually took place.
“It’s been a lot of negativity around Mason Rudolph. He got fined $50k for essentially getting beat up. His reputation was tarnished because of the allegations, none of which was founded. He was a quarterback in the losing circumstances at the end of a football game. Obviously, he was an active participant in the altercation, but a lot of the things that have gone on beyond that, I struggle with.”
Tomlin was asked about another allegation by Garrett in which the Steelers and the NFL had evidence supporting his claim but have been working together to suppress it. Tomlin called the notion of being part of a cover up “laughable” before answering the question of how the Steelers would handle the the accusation if it was true.
“We would not participate in the covering up of such issues, and we would obviously do what is appropriate in dealing with those circumstances.”
As for the course of actions Mason Rudolph could take from a legal standpoint, Tomlin did not wish to comment on what Rudolph and his legal team deem to be necessary for the situation. Instead, Tomlin offered up support for continuing to defend Rudolph.
“I think his reputation needs to be defended and defended aggressively.”
To see the full interview, see the video below: