Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt regrets his criticism of teammate Joseph Ossai after the AFC title game loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night.
Ossai was called for unnecessary roughness after he shoved Patrick Mahomes as the quarterback ran out of bounds in the final seconds of the game. The penalty meant that Harrison Butker’s field-goal attempt was from 45 yards rather than 60. Butker duly converted the kick, giving the Chiefs a 23-20 victory and a place in the Super Bowl.
Pratt was later caught on video in the Bengals locker room yelling: “Why would you touch the fucking quarterback?”. The clip has been viewed millions of times on Twitter. In the clip Pratt, who is a free agent this offseason, could also be heard saying this is his “fucking last year”.
On Monday, Pratt sounded more contrite. “It’s a reaction that anybody has that’s a competitor,” Pratt said. “You know what was at stake in that moment. I love this game, no doubt about it.
“They talk about my character as a teammate. Some people never played this game. They don’t know how much effort guys put in the game.”
Pratt was asked if he had spoken to Ossai since Sunday and replied that he “went around and talked to every guy”.
Ossai was playing his first full season in the NFL after missing his rookie year with injury. He cut a forlorn figure in the Bengals locker room after the game and teammates and coaches offered him their support.
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor refused to single out Ossai after the game.
“There’s certainly at least one thing every coach and every player wishes we would have done differently in that game,” Taylor said. “And so it was awesome to see those guys support each other in a really tough, tough moment.”
Pratt said on Monday that he wants to stay with the Bengals.
“The brotherhood we built around here is unmatched,” Pratt said. “It’s unstoppable. Nobody can break us no matter how many people try to throw dirt on your name in the media, nobody can stop that. I want to be back here.”