Germaine Pratt on blasting Bengals teammate Joseph Ossai for costly Patrick Mahomes hit: 'I wasn't a great teammate'
Germaine Pratt said what a lot of Bengals fans were thinking after Cincinnati's AFC championship loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
He did so at his teammate Joseph Ossai's expense. On Monday, he apologized.
Bengals LB Germaine Pratt on his reaction that was captured at the end of the AFC title game: “I was emotional. I was in the moment. I was wrong… I wasn’t a great teammate in that moment.” pic.twitter.com/0fG1YOnN6I
— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) January 30, 2023
"I was emotional," Pratt said. "I was in the moment. I was wrong. I would say I was wrong. As a man, you can look at yourself in the mirror and say ‘I was wrong. I wasn’t a great teammate in the moment.’
“But that don’t define me as a man.”
So why was Pratt apologizing? In case you missed it, the Bengals linebacker had some candid words targeting Ossai in the aftermath of Sunday's 23-20 loss.
Pratt's raw response after tough loss
The Chiefs secured victory on a 45-yard Harrison Butker field goal with three seconds remaining. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes scrambled for a first down before running out of bounds on the play before the kick. Ossai hit Mahomes late out of bounds, drawing a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty — a clear infraction that officials could not ignore.
Mahomes gives it his all for the first down!
📺: #CINvsKC on CBS
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/fM5ertlhHi pic.twitter.com/z78Phcfkyp
— NFL (@NFL) January 30, 2023
Without the penalty, Butker would have faced a considerably less likely 60-yard attempt in frigid Kansas City conditions. With the game tied at 20-20, a miss would have set up overtime barring a Bengals miracle in the game's final seconds. But there was no miss, and Cincinnati's season ended painfully short of the Super Bowl after a hard-fought game.
As the Bengals walked through the postgame tunnel, a TV camera captured Pratt saying this:
Jermaine Pratt visibly upset with the ending of that game- particularly with the roughing the passer on Joseph Ossai that got the Chiefs in comfortable FG range to win the game #bengals #AFCChampionshipGame pic.twitter.com/02JR77QgG7
— Katie Kapusta (@KatieKapustaTV) January 30, 2023
"How the f*** do you touch the quarterback?" Pratt yelled.
Ossai wasn't in the vicinity when Pratt made his exclamation. He may have still been on the Bengals' bench, where he sat with his head in his hands for several moments after the game's conclusion.
Ossai will be back stronger next year 🤘 pic.twitter.com/4CS8djnt62
— FIGJAM (@GrandslamThrow) January 30, 2023
But the message surely got back to Ossai. And it was out of line with the Bengals' public face after the game, which was otherwise fully supportive of the 22-year-old defensive end.
Bengals largely united in support of Ossai
Multiple Bengals players consoled Ossai on the bench in the aftermath of the play. Head coach Zac Taylor gave him a hug in the locker room and allowed Ossai to cry on his shoulder. Defensive tackle B.J. Hill literally stood by Ossai's side as he fielded tough questions from reporters in the locker room.
This was the scene at Joseph Ossai’s locker with BJ Hill stepping in to provide support https://t.co/8vn1OOlhOQ pic.twitter.com/nbUnoCkzfp
— Michael Niziolek (@michaelniziolek) January 30, 2023
“It didn’t come down to that play,” Hill told reporters after Ossai owned up to his mistake. “I’m not going to put up with no dumb questions that make it seem like it was all his fault. It takes more than him. It takes an entire team.
“That’s my brother. I’ve been in that situation before, too. I had a chance to make a game-winning sack [against Dallas]. I just missed a sack. I’ve been there. Trying to blame it on one person, I’m not going to have that."
Outside of Pratt's outburst, the Bengals front was united around Ossai. At the same time, Pratt's raw emotions in the moments after the game were understandable. After some time to reflect and cool down, he changed his tone.
It's all part of the territory that comes with a tough loss in late January.