The Steelers took notice and used it as extra motivation heading into Sunday’s rematch with the Browns.
It also did not sit well with Steelers Pro Bowl guard David DeCastro who blasted Kitchens after the game.
“I thought it was pretty stupid,” Steelers guard David DeCastro said after Sunday’s 20-13 win, per Brooke Pryor of ESPN. “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.”
Steelers OL David DeCastro on Freddie Kitchens shirt: “I thought it was pretty stupid. 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.”
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) December 1, 2019
Steeler guard Ramon Foster also said he took notice of the shirt:
— Josh Rowntree (@JRown32) December 1, 2019
“It was interesting,’’ said Foster. “You just don’t see that from upper management. We all got to grow as professionals in some sense and I’m glad Coach T (Mike Tomlin) doesn’t do anything like that.’’
“I’ll leave it up to you guys, but I know our coach would have never done anything like that,’’ said Foster. “Why throw gas? I know I said I wouldn’t answer, but 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.’’
Even after the disappointing loss to the Steelers, Kitchens said in his press conference that he had no regrets about wearing the shirt.
“Listen, the t-shirt didn’t have anything to with us at the minus-1 moving out; I wore a t-shirt,’’ Kitchens said. “I wore a jacket with it. My daughters wanted me to wear the shirt and I’d wear it again. I put a jacket on, I covered it up. I took a picture with a fan. It was as simple as that. The t-shirt didn’t cause us to give up 40-yard passes and we were ready to play. That’s the only thing people need to be concerned about. We were ready to play.’’
Freddie Kitchens: “my daughters wanted me to wear the shirt and I’d wear it again… the t-shirt didn’t cause us to give up 40-yard passes”
— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) December 1, 2019
The Browns came into the matchup with the Steelers on a 3 game winning streak and in the playoff hunt.
This loss drops the Browns to 5-7 and will certainly keep the fire hot on the conversation of Freddie Kitchen’s job status.
Whether the T-shirt had anything to do with the Browns loss is debatable, but one thing that is not is that is was noticed by the Steelers.