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Myles Garrett tells appeals officer that Mason Rudolph called him a racial slur just prior to brawl

Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett hits Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with his own helmet as offensive guard David DeCastro tries to stop Garrett during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett is appealing his indefinite suspension, and he raised a significant issue in his hearing with appeals officer James Thrash. ESPN is reporting Garrett told Thrash that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph called him a racial slur just prior to the outbreak of the brawl.

The Steelers released a statement denying the accusation.

“Mason vehemently denies the report of being accused of using a racial slur during the incident Thursday night in Cleveland,” Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said in a statement. “He will not discuss this accusation any further and his focus remains on preparation for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.”

Rudolph’s agent Tim Younger also released a statement in which he called it a lie and said Garrett was simply trying to mitigate his suspension. Younger called it a malicious assault that is worse than the physical assault during the game.

Garrett is suspended indefinitely, and part of his appeal is that the collective bargaining agreement does not allow for an indefinite suspension. Additionally, Garrett is pointing to Antonio Smith’s 2013 suspension for swinging his helmet at Richie Incognito. Smith was suspended for two preseason games and one regular-season game.