Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph regrets the way he handled the on-field altercation with defensive end Myles Garrett last week.
Rudolph said Wednesday he respects Garrett, even after the incident that resulted in Garrett's indefinite suspension.
In the closing seconds of Thursday night's game between the Steelers and Browns, Garrett yanked Rudolph's helmet off and struck the quarterback on the top of his unprotected head.
Rudolph read a prepared statement to reporters on Wednesday, his first comments about the situation since his postgame remarks.
"I have no ill will toward Myles Garrett. Great respect for his ability as a player. And I know that if Myles could go back, he would handle the situation differently," the 24-year-old Rudolph said. "As for my involvement last week, there's no acceptable excuse. The bottom line is I should've done a better job keeping my composure in that situation. (I fell) short of what I believe it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and a member of the NFL."
The incident started after Rudolph dumped off a short pass. After getting knocked down, Rudolph appeared to grab at Garrett's helmet before Garrett ripped off Rudolph's helmet and, with Steelers' offensive linemen attempting to intervene, hit the quarterback in the head with it.
Rudolph, who missed time earlier this season when he was concussed after being knocked unconscious by Earl Thomas of the Ravens, was not injured.
Garrett, 23, was in New York on Wednesday to appeal his suspension. ESPN reported the meeting lasted less than two hours. The suspension, which will cover at least the rest of this season, including the playoffs should the Browns qualify.
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey (three games) and Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (one game) also are appealing their suspensions.
Rudolph said he didn't provoke Garrett with any comments, and added he regretted Pouncey was suspended for having to defend him.
The NFL is not done doling out punishments. Rudolph is expected to be fined and said he would accept the NFL's decision.