Browns fan says hatred for Steelers moved him to run on field

Published: Dec. 28, 2005 at 1:30 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 28, 2005 at 1:31 PM EST
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CLEVELAND - For avid Cleveland Browns fan Nathan Mallett, facing time in jail for running onto the field during a blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers is not the worst of it.

Even the body slam by Pittsburgh's James Harrison didn't hurt as much as the thought that the Browns might ban Mallett from home games.

"That is probably the worst part of it. I guess I'll still watch them on TV," Mallett said Tuesday after pleading innocent in Cleveland Municipal Court to disorderly conduct while intoxicated and criminal trespassing.

Mallett, 24, of Chippewa Lake, has a Jan. 3 trial date. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.

Bill Bonsiewicz, a Browns spokesman, said banning Mallett is a possibility. The team will wait to see what happens in court before determining whether Mallett may attend another Browns home game, he said.

Dressed in Cleveland colors _ including knee-high bright orange socks and sweat pants that fell off his hips after Harrison's hit _ Mallett got past Browns security and ran onto the field with 9:17 left in the fourth quarter of the 41-0 Steelers rout Saturday.

Harrison, a 6-foot, 242-pound linebacker, tackled Mallett and held him against the field until police arrived, handcuffed Mallett and hauled him off to jail.

Harrison said he dropped Mallett because he was heading toward the Pittsburgh sideline.

"We didn't know if he had anything on him or if he might do something. I was protecting my teammates," Harrison said. "I didn't want to hurt him. I just wanted to keep him down until the proper authorities came."

Mallett said he was intoxicated and didn't feel any pain from Harrison's tackle.

But Mallett said he bum rushed the field because his heart was aching from seeing Cleveland's rival winning.

"There's nothing I can say except I hate losing to the Steelers," he said.

Mallett apologized to the Browns and advised other fans who may have similar ideas to think twice.

"Don't do it," said Mallett, who spent Christmas Eve behind bars. "It ain't worth it."

Browns president John Collins said the team is reviewing stadium security measures, handled by Cleveland police and a private company, Tenable Security.

"It's not acceptable," said Collins.

On Oct. 30, a fan ran onto the field in Cincinnati and stole the ball from Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre.

Greg Gall, 31, of Cincinnati was placed on 14 months' probation after pleading guilty to charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct while intoxicated. While on probation, he is banned from Paul Brown Stadium and the Reds' Great American Ball Park.

As for Mallett, he could have been tackled by Browns linebacker Kenard Lang, who only shoved him "because he was a Cleveland fan."

"If he was a Pittsburgh fan, I probably would've knocked him out," Lang said.

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