Jan. 31 (UPI) — Linebacker Germaine Pratt told reporters he was “wrong” for screaming at teammate Joseph Ossai for the role his penalty played in the Cincinnati Bengals’ loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC title game.
Pratt spoke about the situation Monday night. Ossai was called for unnecessary roughness after he pushed Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes — after he was out of bounds — in the final seconds Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
The penalty allowed the Chiefs to move the ball forward 15 yards. Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker made a game-winning 45-yard field goal on the next snap.
Ossai remained on the sideline bench by himself, hiding his face as he was visibly distraught after the loss.
Several teammates and coaches attempted to comfort the defensive end before he went to the locker room. Pratt was then caught on camera as he walked into the tunnel.
“Why would you touch the [expletive] quarterback,” Pratt was later seen and heard screaming as he went to the locker room alongside other Bengals players.
Ossai, who remained emotional in the locker room, took questions from reporters in the minutes after the game. Bengals defensive tackle B.J. Hill stood by Pratt’s side for support during the session.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor said Monday that “every coach and every player wishes” they would have done at least one thing differently during the loss. He also said it was “awesome” to see several Bengals players support Ossai.
“I was in the moment,” Pratt said Monday, when asked about his initial reaction to Ossai’s mistake. “I was wrong. I would say I was wrong.
“As a man, you can look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘I was wrong.’ I wasn’t a great teammate in that moment. That doesn’t define me as a man.”
Ossai totaled five combined tackles, and sustained a knee injury, in Sunday’s loss. Pratt totaled seven combined tackles. The Bengals allowed 357 yards in the conference finale.
Ossai was a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and has two years remaining on his contract. Pratt is set to become a free agent this off-season.