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Steelers Quarterback Denies Report He Used Racial Slur

Quarterback Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers fights with defensive end Myles Garrett #95 of the Cleveland Browns during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 14, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Steelers 21-7. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph is denying he used a racial slur before his confrontation with suspended Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett.

ESPN, using anonymous sources, reported Thursday that Garrett told the NFL that Rudolph used a slur just before a brawl between the two teams last week that included Garrett ripping off Rudolph’s helmet and then hitting the quarterback in the head with it. The NFL suspended Garrett indefinitely.

He appealed the decision on Wednesday. The matter remains under review.

Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said Rudolph “vehemently denies” the report. Rudolph, who has not yet been disciplined for his role in the fight, said on Wednesday that there was “no acceptable excuse” for his behavior during the fight.

Cleveland coach Freddie Kitchens said he supports Garrett “in every way possible” but did not comment when asked if Garrett told Kitchens about the slur in the aftermath of the fight.