Freddie Kitchens Talks About Myles Garrett Incident

Washington Redskins v Cleveland Browns

(Photo by: Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

Opening statement:

“I will just start by saying that I know you guys are going to have some questions and that is totally understandable, but I really do not have much more to add from what I said last night about the incident. I spoke with (DE) Myles (Garrett) this morning. He understands the magnitude of what occurred last night. He is very remorseful. He is very sorry for his actions. He understands that he let himself down, he let his teammates down and he let his organization down. We look at our team as a family, and in a family, sometimes family members make mistakes. You support them in every way that you can, even if it is an egregious mistake. We know who Myles is a as person. We know who Myles is and the character that Myles has, and that is under no circumstance what he wants to be portrayed as. We will support him. He will learn from it. Our team will learn from it and become better because of it.”

On how he handled and processed the altercation as it was occurring:

“While it was happening, I just wanted to make sure that I got our guys out of harm’s way and the damage was done and try to just get people calmed down. It sounds crazy saying this, but I thought our sideline handled it well. If you look on our sideline, pretty much everybody remained on the sideline and I was proud of the discipline that they showed to do that because they understand it is a penalty to go out onto the field of play. There were things like that that I was proud of the response and after the act had been committed. During the moment, I just wanted to make sure everybody… You just try to create cooler heads at that time.”

On the NFL suspending DE Myles Garrett’s indefinitely:

“As I said last night, we were expecting a response from the league. We respect their response like that, and we have to accept it, just like Myles has to accept you have consequences for your actions. That is a consequence that Myles has, and unfortunately that affects him, it affects us and it affects us as an organization. I do not have a response to their suspension. You put it in their hands when you do something like that.”

On DE Olivier Vernon’s injury status:

“It is still a day-by-day thing with him so we will see. This extra time is definitely going to help, but I am not sure if we will know anything by the first part of the week. He is getting closer.”

On if he has any response to Steelers QB Mason Rudolph not being suspended:

“We know what we saw, and I really do not think there is any benefit to me sharing my feelings on any of that. I know that is not what you are looking for in an answer, but I just do not think anything good can be gained by me expressing my opinion or feelings.”

On the Browns’ performance in a divisional game against the Steelers, outside of the altercation:

“I was proud of our team. I think I am stating the obvious here, but with the exception of the last eight seconds of the game, I was proud of our team on the way we competed. We stayed together. Our defense played remarkably. (LB) Joe Schobert had an outstanding game – pass breakup, two interceptions and a sack. (LB) Mack Wilson made great strides. Myles put pressure on the quarterback the whole day, and (DE) Chad Thomas did his part on the other side. Offensively, we hit some big plays. We hit two plays over 40 yards and two more over 20 so that came back a little back that we have missed in the past few games or really all season. We performed decent in the red zone – still not where we want to be but better. Just a lot of good things from last night. To go 2-0 in the division was huge for us. It always starts with our division, and that is huge. For the Cleveland Browns organization, for us to beat Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the same year, it has never happened. We have never been 2-0 in the division. So many good things from last night that of course get overshadowed. I hate it for our guys because they put the time and the effort into getting to this point. It has not been easy. We still have six games left. It is one of those things where you hate that it takes the attention away from the good things that they accomplished because they need credit for those kinds of things.”

On former Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley attributing Garrett’s actions falls upon the head coach:

“I do not really give much thought into what Todd says. I am not even going to respond to it. I know the way we continue to talk about maintaining our composure, and we have to do a better job of maintaining our composure, everybody.”

On why it has been a struggle this year for the team to keep its composure:

“I do not know that it has been a struggle all year that we maintain our composure. Sometimes I think it is a commitment to doing the right if you are referring to some of the penalties. We are going to continue to stress those things, and over the last three to four weeks, those things have gotten better and we are going to continue to try to get even better than that. Last night was an outlier of what we have had. We have not seen anything like that.”

On what can the Browns do to help portray how Garrett truly is as a person:

“Myles and I visited for a long time this morning. On a personal level, that is what I want from Myles is to understand that the ball is in his court on how he responds to this. It is up to him on showing people and showing the National Football League that that is not who he is. You are looking at a guy who is a tremendous asset as a teammate, in the entire organization and to our fans. He is always out in the community and doing things for the community. He is a good teammate. He just lost his cool. He lost his composure. A terrible mistake, and sometimes things like that carry on with someone. If the person puts enough time into it, he can make amends. This will never be like it never happened, but people understand that that is an outlier of Myles Garrett and not the norm.”

On what changed with Garrett this season, given the number of penalties Garrett has had earlier this year compared to past years: 

“I think Myles is a young player, and sometimes young players try to find their way from the standpoint of being physical. Maybe Myles just was not very physical the first couple of years, and he has become more physical. Now he has to understand the limitations on that aspect of it. You just kind of gave the answer for yourself that those things showed up the first week, but you have not seen them again until last night. Myles has done a good job of eliminating those things from his game. He just let his emotions and lost his composure last night when things got like that. “

On if Garrett addressed the team today:

“Yes, he was.”

On if he can share Garrett’s message to the team:

“No, I would not care to do that. Myles is very, very remorseful, and we are going to stand behind Myles. We do not condone in any way what happened, but we are going to stand behind Myles as a person. As you read the report about the suspension, he is going to be suspended. Like I told you guys, we consider ourselves a family. When someone is hurting and someone is feeling like this, we are going to stand behind him.”

On if the organization has to also try to display that last night is not reflective of the team:

“I think we are always searching for ways to improve the way we are viewed as an organization, as a coach and as a player. Especially in times like this, of course. Myles wears the Cleveland Brown jersey so we are all in it together so yeah, I would say of course.”

On S Morgan Burnett’s injury status and if Burnett has a torn Achilles:

“We do not know the confirmation on that yet, but we do know we are checking his Achilles out and running test on his Achilles. I do not know if it has been confirmed yet, just to be absolutely honest with you.”

On how much a situation like last night causes him to ponder and reflect personally:

“I am always trying to do self-evaluations of myself and of our coaching staff. I think every time something bad or good happens, you try to evaluate and see what you could have done differently. I just know that we preach all of the time about maintaining our composure and it only comes up whenever you have the opportunity to maintain your composure. That is where we are sitting with that.”

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

“Of course, it is hard, but I think we have the men in the room to accept the challenge. There has been adversity hit it seems like all year so these guys have answered the call of adversity, and I expect them to do the same moving forward. There will not be any excuses. We will have 11 out on the field, and those 11 will be expected to do their job.”

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