Trash talk in football isn’t nearly what it used to be.
Thirteen years after former Browns defensive lineman Gerard Warren received a warning from the league office for threatening then-rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers, Browns rookie pass rusher Myles Garrett and Roethlisberger have gotten into a much more muted back and forth.
Via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Garrett proclaimed his desire to sack Roethlisberger promptly after the Browns made Garrett the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
“Big Ben!” Garrett told ESPN’s Randy Moss. “Big Ben is a Super Bowl winner and I heard he’s hard to take down. So, I’m coming for him first, [to] chop him down.”
Roethlisberger has since responded in comments to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“I was talking to [center Maurkice Pouncey[ after Garrett called me out,” Roethlisberger said. “Pounce got a big kick out of it. All of my linemen enjoyed hearing it. They can’t wait to get started. I can’t, either.”
The Browns and Steelers get started against each other, on September 10 at Cleveland. And the trash talk is likely finished. Even if it isn’t, it likely won’t end up sounding like it did in 2004, when Warren said regarding Roethlisberger, “Kill the head and the body’s dead.”
In the aftermath of the Saints bounty scandal, that kind of talk is forbidden — even if the sentiment remains largely implied at the highest levels of football: The chances of winning become enhanced via the application of clean, legal hits that render the best players on the other team unable to continue.
And, of course, the Brown have hired to be the defensive coordinator the man who was at the heart of the bounty scandal, and who once made the same “kill the head” proclamation to his players with a camera present.