Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey wasn’t deterred by his punishment.

Pouncey will return to the field Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals after serving a two-game suspension for his role in a melee late in a Week 11 game against the Browns. During the incident, Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett removed the helmet of Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph and swung it at Rudolph’s head.

Pouncey rushed over to defend his teammate, punching Garrett in the helmet and then kicking him a couple of times.

“The NFL had to make a statement, and rightfully so,” Pouncey said of the suspension, according to Penn Live. “At the end of the day the fight didn’t look good, but the fight was worth it.”

According to Pouncey, the same goes for the lost game checks and additional fine of $35,096 he drew for his role in the altercation.

“Everyone had to pay their fines, everyone had to do their due diligence,” Pouncey added. “But the money was worth it, trust me.”

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Former linebacker Derrick Brooks, who is now an appeals officer jointly appointed by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, reduced Pouncey’s suspension from three games to two but upheld the fine.

Pouncey, 30, has been a model of consistency for the Steelers and has held down the starting role since his rookie season in 2010. Known for being a physical, tone-setting center, Pouncey even acknowledged that if presented with the same scenario, he would go after Garrett again.

The NFL suspended Garrett indefinitely, but at least for the remainder of the 2019 season. Garrett had alleged that Rudolph used a racial slur before the defensive end swung the helmet. The NFL later said it could find no evidence of a slur being used.

Pouncey denied that Rudolph used any such language.

“C’mon man,” Pouncey said. “That’s not true at all. But we’re past that. Honestly man, You guys know Mason, you’ve been around him a long time. It’s not his first time. If he was racist, it would’ve got exposed.”

Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.

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