G Joel Bitonio (11.15.19)

G Joel Bitonio:

On Browns players were in the facility today:



On DE Myles Garrett’s address to the team today:

“He just wanted to apologize to us. He says that he is going to prove to us that it was just one incident on his radar and that he is going to strive every day to be a better person and show us that that is not his true character and that he feels like he had let us down obviously because he is not going to be out there with us on gamedays.”


On the impact of losing Garrett while attempting to keep playoff hopes alive:

“Yeah, it is tough. He was playing like a possible Defensive Player of the Year candidate and that is what I think everyone knows him as. He is a guy that gets after the quarterback, plays the run well. He is a great player. It is tough. Anytime you lose a guy to injury, to suspension or to anything of that nature, it is something that you have to try and fill that spot. It might not be just one guy. We might need to pick someone up. We might need to rotate some guys in there to keep some more fresh bodies. It is tough when you lose your best defender.”


On his initial reaction as the altercation was occurring:

“I was pretty far on the sidelines so I did not really get a great view of it during the game. In my head, I was saying, ‘Let’s just finish this game. Let’s just get the win.’ I had only beaten Pittsburgh once in my career up until that point, and I was excited for the win on the sideline. I thought the clock was running out and I just saw kind of the end of the scuffle. I did not really see anything that had happened until I saw it later on TV. In the moment, I was just like, ‘Can we just finish this game? Can we get through this? Let’s get this win and get into the locker room.’ That is pretty much how I felt during the moment because I did not really know exactly what happened, who had started it or how it was finished or things of that nature until I got into the locker room.”


On if he is becoming frustrated with out of the norm incidents surrounding the Browns this season while trying to make a push for the playoffs:

“I would not call it a frustration. Have there been distractions? Yeah, it is something that you kind of deal with on every team. It is not always open to the public and it is not always out there in every situation, but things happen throughout the season. Do you wish there was less of them? Of course, you wish you had a smooth-sailing season with no ups or downs. I think it is how we respond to them. We have won two games in a row now. It is something we are trying to build on, and it is going to be tough. We have lost a few guys the last couple weeks to injuries or to suspensions now, and it is only going to get tougher every week. I think we are at a good place on the football field. If we can focus on that and learn from our mistakes off of it, we can really try and still salvage this season. I think if we really try and have that 1-0 mantra each week, there is chance that we can still do something this year.”


On if he worries that the Browns has developed a reputation of being dirty:

“(Head Coach) Freddie (Kitchens) has talked about that where the refs talk to each other and you see it in the first games of the season where we had 20-something penalties and they were saying, ‘Hey, this team gets called for a bunch of penalties.’ I am sure the refs do their homework, too. It is one of the things that we have really tried to limit and I think the offense has done a decent job the last couple of weeks of limiting our penalties and turnovers. It is something we have really tried to stress as a group. It is one of those things where like holding calls and things like that happen during the game. Those are in-game penalties. The things we have to try to eliminate and that we are on control of are the unnecessary roughness, the pre-snap penalties on offense and the things that we are truly, truly in control of. Sometimes a facemask is going to happen, a hold or a pass interference. Those things can happen in the midst of a game, but if we can eliminate the extra-curricular or pre-snap penalties, I think that will be a lot in helping change the narrative for us.”


On QB Baker Mayfield and WR Odell Beckham Jr. saying that last night felt like a loss due to the altercation and how to overcome it:

“It was not the way you wanted to win the game. It definitely felt different. The record book says that we won that one, and we won the last two and it is something that we are going to have to refocus on during the weekend off now. We can watch some other teams play. We are going to come back and refocus. I know it is going to be a big blow. We lose a couple of guys – one for the season and one for a week (DT Larry Ogunjobi). The defense is going to have some other guys have to step up. It is one of things where hopefully the team we at this point where we are clearing wins or losses on a week-to-week basis. If we can just refocus and start focusing on the Miami Dolphins, I think that is going to be the big step for us. Win or lose, by the time we got back Monday, there should have been a new focus anyway. That is what I am going to be stressing to my teammates, and hopefully, we come with the same mindset and we are ready to try and get a win against Miami.”


On his comments to the team after the game:

“It was just a quick something in the locker room for the guys to hear. It was a very emotional time and there was emotional things being said. You go through a situation like that where calmer heads needed to prevail, and you just want to make sure that everybody is on the same page and we are all working for the same goal. I do not know exact details of what exactly I said, but something along those lines but something along those lines where we are just try to bring everybody together and move in the right direction. At the end of the day, we are all one team, we are all one family and we are all working on one goal, and that is to be a good football team. That was the main purpose of it. I just want to keep moving in that direction.”


On confidence the Browns family is strong enough to move forward from the situation:

“We have had our ups and downs and that is for sure. Sometimes in the biggest storm, that is when people come together the closest. We have a decision to make as a team. It is not one day everybody is saying, ‘Yeah, we are in it together,’ but it  is your actions through the week of practice, through games that we have to make that collective choice. In meetings, what you do off the field, what you do on the field that hey, we are going to grow from this. I think Myles put out a statement today and what he told us in the room is that he is growing. He is going to try to and grow from this and it is going to take tons of time. Anytime you make a mistake in life, it takes a lot of time to regain trust, regain respect from things. I think if the whole team can work in that direction, then we can really grow together and become stronger.”


On his reaction to Steelers QB Mason Rudolph not being suspended:

“That is a league choice. I heard he is going to get fined at some point. It is not really our choice to say who is right or who is wrong in the whole situation. Obviously there are two sides to a fight and the NFL reviewed it and made their decisions.”


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