If the Cleveland Browns plan to break their playoff drought this season, they’ll have to do it without star defensive end Myles Garrett.
Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported the NFL has suspended Myles Garrett indefinitely.
“Indefinitely” leaves a lot in the air, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the suspension is at least for the rest of the season and playoffs.
No punishment has been announced for Rudolph, but NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport hinted more punishments could be coming and that the entire incident is unprecedented.
Browns owners Dee and Dee and Jimmy Haslam issued a statement following the NFL’s decision.
“There is no place for that in football and that is not reflective of the core values we strive for as an organization,” they wrote. “We sincerely apologize to Mason Rudolph and the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
Garrett and Rudolph were involved in a tussle on the turf late during Cleveland’s 21-7 win on Thursday night. After the Browns defensive end dragged the quarterback down behind the play with less than 10 seconds left in the game and the situation quickly escalated. After some back and forth, Garrett ended up with Rudolph’s helmet, swinging it at him and connecting.
“I made a mistake. I lost my cool, and it’s going to come back to hurt our team,” Garrett told reporters after the game. “The guys who jumped in to the scrum, I appreciate my team having my back, but it should have never got to that point. It’s on me.
“What I did was foolish, and I shouldn’t have allowed myself to slip like that. It’s out of character, but in a situation like that where it’s an emotional game, like Larry said, I allowed myself to fall into my emotions with the last play and what happened.”
Rudolph didn’t mince words when asked about the incident.
“I thought it was pretty cowardly. Pretty bush league,” Rudolph told reporters. “You can watch the tape, check it out and make your own assumptions. It’s OK; I’ll take it. I’m not gonna take it from any bully.”
Garrett will now have to watch his team’s pursuit of their first playoff berth since 2002. And he’ll be missed. Garrett — who the Browns selected No. 1 overall in 2017 — has 10 sacks this season and had realistic aspirations to be named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Rudolph was by no means innocent in the whole affair, but if there’s going to be any action against him, it has yet to be announced. He acknowledged that he acted out of anger facing off against the 6-foot-4, 270-pound Garrett.
“I felt like I had a bone to pick with him after what he did,” said Rudolph, who tossed a career-high four interceptions in the loss. “I wasn’t going to back down. I was angry. I’m human.
“It was stupid, man. The game was over. It’s just senseless, man. That’s just reckless. The NFL has to make a statement with that.”
Punishment for Others Involved in the Browns-Steelers Ruckus
Both organizations were fined $250,000 for the incident while Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi and Steelers offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey were suspended. Pouncey got a three-game ban and Ogunjobi will miss one.
Garrett was taken down by multiple Steelers offensive lineman after swinging the helmet, including Pouncey, who said he blacked out in rage as he threw multiple punches as the helmeted Garrett.
“At this point, who cares?” Pouncey said when asked about a possible suspension. “My man got hit in the head with a helmet. I’ll accept whatever penalty it is.”
Ogunjobi was a late addition to the fight, blindsiding a defenseless Rudolph as he pleaded his case after getting hit with a helmet.
No other suspensions or punishments have been reported as of yet, but this story will be updated to reflect those announcements.
The Browns (4-6) and Steelers (5-5) face off again on Dec. 1 in Pittsburgh.
Myles Garrett Suspension: How It Stacks Up
Garrett’s ban is currently the second longest in NFL history for an on-field incident.
The fight set the internet ablaze after the game, with opinions on the length of a suspension ranging from a lifetime ban to nothing at all. Neither were truly realistic.
The NFL suspended Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict 12 games this season for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Colts tight end Jack Doyle in Week 4. What didn’t help Burfict was that he was a repeat offender for dirty plays on the field.
“Following each of your rule violations, you were warned by me and each of the jointly-appointed appeal officers that future violations would result in escalated accountability measures,” NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan wrote to Burfict. “However, you continued to flagrantly abuse rules designated to protect yourself and your opponents from unnecessary risk.”
While not a repeat offender, Garrett has had his fair share of borderline plays this season already. He open-hand slapped Titans tight end Delanie .Walker in Week 1 and received two roughing the passer penalties agains the Jets, one that ended QB Trevor Siemian’s season.
Former Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was handed a five-game suspension in 2006 for stomping on the head of Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode.