Cam Heyward: Mason Rudolph is being “villainized,” and that’s not right

Charean Williams

Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward defended his teammate, Mason Rudolph, on Thursday.

“He is being villainized by it,” Heyward said, via video from Brooke Pryor of ESPN. “He said, ‘I’m going to be labeled as that.’ I just don’t think that’s right. That’s my teammate, and I’m going to fight for him.”

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett reportedly alleged during his suspension appeal hearing that Rudolph directed a racial slur at him. Garrett was asked immediately after the game whether Rudolph had said something to set him off, and he said, “You’ve got to go look at it. I’m not going to comment on it.”

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Garrett’s indefinite suspension for hitting Rudolph in the head with the quarterbacks’ helmet was upheld by appeals officer James Thrash.

“I think we’ve just got to open up to our mistakes as men and move on,” Heyward said. “For [the slur allegation] to be a part of the appeal is stupid to me because that doesn’t get you out of what you did. And we’ve got to move forward and he’s got to own up to his actions.”

Heyward said Rudolph told him at the end of practice, “I did not say that.”

Rudolph was scheduled to speak to the media Thursday, but the team instead released a statement from Rudolph denying he said what Garrett alleges he said.

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