Heading into Sunday's battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, the discussion had turned from football and focused primarily on the clothing choices of each team. Browns coach Freddie Kitchens had been spotted in a "Pittsburgh started it" shirt that referenced a brawl in a previous game. This move turned heads, and Steelers guard Ramon Foster has since responded by expressing gratitude that his coach doesn't make similar choices.
Speaking with reporters following the 20-13 Steelers victory, Foster opted to avoid any specific criticism of the Browns or the head coach. Instead, he simply said that this was something that you generally don't see from those running the team. It seemed like an odd decision leading into this rivalry game.
"You just don't see that from upper management," Foster said. "We all gotta grow as professionals in some sense. I'm glad Coach T [Mike Tomlin] doesn't do anything like that."
Freddie Kitchens wore a shirt that said 'Pittsburgh Started It' before the Steelers rematch.
Pittsburgh guard Ramon Foster after beating the Browns: "I’m glad Coach T doesn’t do anything like that."December 2, 2019
As Foster continued to explain, he wouldn't necessarily call the shirt disrespectful and would instead leave that to the reporters. What he would say, however, is that Tomlin would never do something like this because it was essentially throwing gasoline on the fire. He also said that this shirt was putting the players in harm's way.
There were multiple players also involved in the back-and-forth done via clothing options. Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton wore a sweater that appeared to show a Steelers player urinating on a Browns player. Another unidentified Steelers player wore a sweatshirt that said "Free Pouncey" in reference to the center that was suspended for two games due to his role in the brawl. Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry, on the other hand, had a sweatshirt that simply said "revenge."
The focus of this battle between AFC North foes could have been on the players involved or the change at quarterback, but there was more of a discussion surrounding the "fluff" brought about by the pointed clothing choices.
The Browns were unable to achieve victory on Sunday while splitting the series 1-1. Was this lack of production in enemy territory due to overly hyping the matchup? The answer is unclear, but Foster is just happy that his head coach doesn't draw attention for off-the-field drama.
(Photo Credit: Kirk Irwin/Getty)