Myles Garrett is not backing down from his accusation of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph even after the Browns‘ former Pro Bowl pass rusher was reinstated by the NFL on Wednesday following a six-game suspension for hitting Rudolph in the head with his own helmet during the Browns’ Week 11 victory over the Steelers. Garrett, during his appeals process, accused Rudolph of calling him a racial slur prior to his assault of Pittsburgh’s quarterback. On Thursday, during an interview with ESPN’s Mina Kimes, Garrett stood by his comments while detailing what he said was said between him and Rudolph. 

“He called me the N-word,” Garrett said, via ESPN’s Jake Trotter. “He called me a ‘stupid N-word.'”

Garrett said that Rudolph’s comments escalated the fight that took place between himself and Rudolph. The fight also involved Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey and Browns defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi. Pouncey served a two-game suspension for his role in the fight, while Ogunjobi served a one-game suspension. Rudolph did not receive a suspension but was reportedly fined by the NFL for his actions. 

“When he said it, it kind of sparked something, but I still tried to let it go and still walk away,” Garrett said. “But once he came back, it kind of reignited the situation. And not only have you escalated things past what they needed to be with such little time in the game left, now you’re trying to re-engage and start a fight again. It’s definitely not entirely his fault, it’s definitely both parties doing something that we shouldn’t have been doing.

“I don’t say the N-word, whether it’s with ‘a’ [or] ‘er.’ To me personally, just shouldn’t be said, and whether it’s by family, friends, anyone. I don’t want to use it because I don’t want [people to] find that appropriate around me for anyone to use.”

While he accepted responsibility for some what took place between himself and Garrett, Rudolph vehemently denied Garrett’s accusation back in November. Additionally, the NFL, during its investigation, found no evidence to support Garrett’s accusation

Rudolph’s teammates also came to his defense following Garrett’s allegation. 

“For Mason, I know he’s not going to talk about it because he’s being villainized by it,” Steelers defensive captain Cameron Heyward said, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “He said, ‘I’m going to be labeled as that.’ And I just don’t think that’s right. That’s my teammate and I’m going to fight for him, and do what’s best for him.

“The kid made a bad mistake, but he never crossed the line when you’re talking about racial slurs.”

Rudolph’s attorney, Timothy M. Younger, also denied Garrett’s allegation while calling it “reckless and shameful.”

“This is a lie,”  Younger told back in November. “This false allegation was never asserted by Garrett in the aftermath of the game, never suggested prior to the hearing, and conspicuously absent in the apology published by the Browns and adopted by Garrett 

“The malicious use of this wild and unfounded allegation is an assault on Mason’s integrity which is far worse than the physical assault witnessed on Thursday. This is reckless and shameful. We will have no further comment.”