Garrett used the same defense in his appeal of an indefinite suspension that cost him the final six games of the 2019 season.
"I support Mason Rudolph not only because I know him, but also because I was on the field immediately following the altercation with Myles Garrett, and subsequently after the game. I interacted with a lot of people in the Cleveland Browns organization -- players and coaches. If Mason said what Myles claimed, it would have come out during the many interactions I had with those in the Browns' organization. In my conversations, I had a lot of expressions of sorrow for what transpired. I received no indication of anything racial or anything of that nature in those interactions."
The NFL said it found no evidence to support Garrett's allegations. Rudolph said at the time it was "totally untrue" and he "couldn't believe" Garrett would make that claim.
In the ESPN interview, which aired Thursday, Garrett reiterated his stance that Rudolph, who wasn't suspended but had his $50,000 fine upheld, was the main culprit in the fight that led to the pass rusher nailing the QB with his own helmet in the head.
"When he said it, it kind of sparked something, but I still tried to let it go and still walk away," Garrett said. "But once he came back, it kind of reignited the situation. And not only have you escalated things past what they needed to be with such little time in the game left, now you're trying to reengage and start a fight again. It's definitely not entirely his fault; it's definitely both parties doing something that we shouldn't have been doing.
"I don't say the N-word, whether it's with 'a' [or] 'er.' To me personally, just shouldn't be said, and whether it's by family, friends, anyone. I don't want to use it because I don't want [people to] find that appropriate around me for anyone to use."