Steelers rip Browns coach Freddie Kitchens for wearing ‘Pittsburgh Started It’ T-shirt

Two days prior to his team’s rematch against Pittsburgh, Cleveland Browns coach Freddie Kitchens wore a shirt referencing the brawl that took place two and a half week ago in a 21-7 win against the Steelers. After Pittsburgh won the rematch Sunday, Steelers players ridiculed Kitchens for the decision.

Spotted wearing a shirt that said “Pittsburgh Started It” on Friday, Kitchens later downplayed the effect of the shirt in Sunday’s 20-13 loss to the Steelers, but his opponents certainly noticed it.

“I know that our coach never would have done anything like that,” Steelers left guard Ramon Foster said of coach Mike Tomlin, according to ESPN. “Why throw gas? When you do something like that, you throw your players in harm’s way. He’s not on the field. You throw your players in harm’s way when you do stuff like that with a vengeance. And I hate that for them.

“You just don’t see that from upper management. We all got to grow as professionals in some sense. I’m glad Coach T doesn’t do anything like that.”

Cleveland generated just 279 yards of total offense and committed two turnovers on Sunday. The Browns also went just one of three in red zone conversions while falling to 5-7.

“I thought it was pretty stupid,” Steelers right guard David DeCastro said of Kitchens wearing the shirt. “That’s a lot of bulletin board material. I don’t know why you do that as a coach. I just don’t get that. Of course it’s going to motivate us. What are you thinking? It’s just not smart.”

OPINION:Freddie Kitchens compromises Browns’ playoff chances, his future with T-shirt

The melee took place in the final seconds of the Nov. 14 game when Browns defensive end Myles Garrett ripped off quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet and swung it at him, grazing Rudolph’s head. Several Steelers players went after Garrett, whom the NFL suspended indefinitely for the incident.

Rudolph was fined $50,000 for his role in the incident, and Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey’s three-game suspension was reduced to two upon appeal.

“I wore a T-shirt,” Kitchens said Sunday. “I wore a jacket with it. My daughters wanted me to wear the shirt. I’d wear it again. I put on a jacket, I covered it up, I took a picture, that was simple as that. A T-shirt didn’t cause us to give up 40-yard passes. We were ready to play. That’s the only thing people need to be concerned about. We were ready to play.”

Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.

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