HC Freddie Kitchens (11.14.19)

Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

Opening statement:

“Before we get started, of course, that is not who we want to be at the end of the game. That is not who (DE) Myles (Garrett) wants to be. That is not who we are going to be. You have to be able to maintain your composure in times like that and under no circumstances do we want anything to do with anything like that. I am embarrassed. Myles is embarrassed. It is not good. He understands what he did, he understands it is totally unacceptable, and we have to get through it.”


On what kind of discipline or suspension can be expected for Garrett:

“I have never seen that in my life so we wait and see. I can’t answer that. Myles is very upset about it. He has to maintain his composure. That is it. We will see. We have take it. Whatever they give to us, we have to take it. We will see.”


On if Garrett shared how the altercation started:

“We do not react like that no matter what. That is not an excuse for anything that Myles did at all, and we are not giving him an excuse. He does not want an excuse. It does not matter what happened. I do not even care what happened. We have five seconds to go in a game. That can not happen. We have five seconds to go in a game – the biggest game that this team has won… Never beat Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the same year since 1999, and then we have to talk about this. There are 52 other guys on the team that that hurt, and it is going to hurt moving forward. We do not condone that. Myles understands what he did wrong. He has to maintain his composure. Just like he had to do at the start of the year, he had to maintain his composure. We have five seconds in the game. I am sorry, but he understands.”


On if there is a systemic problem with the team or if the team is out of control, given the altercation and the ejection for a helmet-to-helmet hit:

“No, I think people get helmet-to-helmet contacts every week. I think Myles wishes he had of used better composure with five seconds to go in the game.”


On if any of these situations go back to Indianapolis when ‘fights were OKed:

“No, I never OKed fights. Did you say that I OKed fights? I never OKed fights. Did I want them to get after their ass? Yes, I did, but that is not fighting. That is not after the whistle. Between the whistles, yes. I never condone fighting on the football field because that is penalties. I do not coach penalties. I do not coach false starts. I do not coach after the whistle of grabbing somebody’s facemask. I do not coach that. I do not know what you are talking about with Indianapolis when I condone fighting. That is putting words in my mouth. I have never in my life condoned a fight. That is a penalty.”


On how the way the game ended reflects on the entire team or franchise:

“I do not know. That is for you guys to decide. I just know that while I am the head coach here, that is not going to be acceptable in any form, fashion or anything.”


On DT Larry Ogunjobi shoving Steelers QB Mason Rudolph to the ground:

“Listen, none of it is acceptable, but once it gets started, somebody has to be willing to stop it and get to the sideline and stuff like that. I know what the initial thing was. That is the reason why I said 52 others.”


On if he is concerned that Garrett may be done for the season:

“I would hate to like even guess. I have no idea. I truly have no idea.”


On how much it would hurt that if Garrett is suspended for a period of time:

“He hurt the team. That is all I can say. He hurt the team.”


On Garrett cutting down on penalties from earlier in the year and how this ultimately occurred with Garrett today:

“I think Myles did a good job earlier in the year. He had six penalties the first [few games], I do not know how many but he cut them down drastically up until this week and it was just five seconds to go in the game. I do not know. You would have to go back and look at it and see what transpired. I know what he told me, and I am going to keep that between him and I, but you would have to look at it.”


On if he has ever considered Garrett as a player who has controlling his emotions:

“No, I have not.”


On if Garrett apologized to him:



On if he will give a personal apology to the Steelers and Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin:

“I am worried about my team. It is not them. I am worried about my team.”


On if he met with Tomlin afterward the game:

“Yeah, I mean said sorry that things got out of hand. He said the same thing to me like earlier when we were out there trying to get everything broken up. I know Mike. Mike is a good guy. I respect Mike. I respect him team. I respect the Steelers. None of that has anything to do with our game. It should not be included in our game, and everybody feels the same way. I know you guys have to ask questions, but everybody knows that should not be a part of the game under no circumstance. Mike knows that, and he knows that I know that. Just can’t happen.”


On if he wanted the officials to end the game with eight seconds remaining after the incident:

“We were trying to get everybody in our locker room when the game is over. Nothing like that, but you have to finish the game. That never came up.”


On if ending the game early was ever discussed:

“No, you have to finish the game. Even when they downed the ball with five seconds to go, we had to snap the ball again. We put (QB) Garrett (Gilbert) in there, took the snap, just so that nothing… You try to create composure if you do not have it so try to create it.”


On if he can enjoy the victory at all after what happened toward the end of the game:

“There is a team in there that paid the price for victory during the course of the week, a short week. We came off a win last week. We just won two in a row, and we accomplished a lot. We just wanted to go 1-0 this week, and we accomplished that. You can’t lose sight of the good things that we did – the turnovers the defense had, the offensive production early in the game, the ability to run the ball when we needed to run the ball at the end of the game. Had some lapses there in between that we need to continue to try to run the ball, but there are a lot of good things from the game that are going to get overshadowed by this, and a lot people are not going to get the recognition because of this. Our tight end (Stephen Carlson) made an unbelievable catch in the end zone. You won’t even hear about it now because of all of this. That part of itis disappointing that the Cleveland Browns organization has to answer questions about this when we just had a huge win. Yes, and they are hard. It is hard to win in the National Football League on a week-to-week basis, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are a great team, and we have to answer questions about this rather than celebrate the guys who performed well at a high level.”


On the first steps to picking up the pieces:

“We have to stay together. When you hit times of adversity, you have to run toward each other and not away. Just come to work and know that you have support here – everybody. I know I have support here with my staff, with Dee (Haslam) and Jimmy (Haslam), with (General Manager) John Dorsey, with our players. Our players know that they have support from our coaches and other players so you just run toward each other instead of running away. If you run away, you are just doing a disservice to yourself and your team.”


On what the incident does for the team emotionally:

“We will come back from it. We will be fine. Like I said, I have not fielded one question about (QB) Baker Mayfield, (WR) Odell Beckham (Jr.), (DE) Chad Thomas, (LB) Joe Schobert, (CB) Greedy (Williams), (S) Morgan Burnett, Steve Carlson, (T Chris) Hubbard, (RBs) Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt. Have not fielded a question about them. Not one question.”


On how disconcerting it is for an incident like this to occur after emphasizing this week to control emotions:

“Well, 59 minutes and 55 seconds, they did. I guess we will have to just see what… I do not know.”


On not having seen a player swing a helmet at another player:

“Yeah, I have not.”


On if he understands why the questions are focusing on the subject and not the game itself:

“That is what I am saying. That is the disservice in the whole thing. We have not asked any questions and we have not answered any questions on what won the game for us. The price that these guys paid, we have not answered questions about. [We answered] questions about something that we do not want involved in the game.”


# # #