The indefinite suspension for Cleveland Browns star Myles Garrett has been upheld for striking Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with a helmet and the defensive end can apply for reinstatement when the season ends.
Additionally, Steelers offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey — who punched and kicked Garrett while he was on the ground — had his suspension reduced from three games to two for his role in the brawl.
The NFL made an official announcement revealing the decision from Derrick Brooks and James Thrash, jointly appointed by the NFL and the NFLPA.
On top of lost pay, Garrett was fined $45,623 for the fight. More fines are expected for other players, including Rudolph, who avoided any suspension.
Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi had his 1-game suspension upheld on Wednesday.
Insiders Not Surprised by NFL Ruling on Myles Garrett
NFL insiders were not surprised by the announcement, with the league wanting to send a message on Garrett’s actions on the field. It’s the second-longest suspension for an on-field incident, behind only the 12-game ban handed to Vontaze Burfict this season.
“The NFL was determined Myles Garrett would not play football again this season, period,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on NFL Live following the announcement. “I don’t think Myles Garrett was ever going to have his suspension reduced this season.”
Garrett had met with the NFL in a meeting in New York that latest less than two hours on Wednesday. Garrett’s appeal was reportedly based on precedent, according to ESPN NFL Insider Dan Graziano.
“Source says Myles Garrett appeal argument is precedent-based. Antonio Smith got 2 preseason games, plus one regular season game for swinging helmet at Incognito in 2013. Ergo, even six games (remainder of this season) is too long, they argue. And of course, indefinite suspension unacceptable.”
Garrett has not spoken on the fight since he released a statement the day after the game.
“I lost my cool and what I did was selfish and unacceptable,” Garrett wrote. “I know that we are all responsible for our actions and I can only prove my true character through my actions moving forward. I want to apologize to Mason Rudolph, my teammates, our entire organization, our fans and to the NFL. I know I have to be accountable for what happened, learn from my mistake and I fully intend to do so.”
Myles Garrett Claims Mason Rudolph Used Racial Slur
A report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Josina Anderson has revealed that Garrett’s appeal alleges that Rudolph called him a racial slur prior to the infamous brawl last Thursday.
The Steelers quickly issued a statement that denied the allegation.
“Mason vehemently denies the report of being accused of using a racial slur during the incident Thursday night in Cleveland,” Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said in a statement. “He will not discuss this accusation any further and his focus remains on preparation for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.”
Rudolph’s agent Timothy M. Younger went a step further, calling it a lie.
“According to ESPN, in his appeal, Myles Garrett falsely asserted that Mason Rudolph uttered a racial slur toward him prior to swinging a helmet at Mason’s uncovered head, in a desperate attempt to mitigate his suspension. This is a lie. This false allegation was never asserted by Garrett in the aftermath of the game. Never suggested prior to the hearing, and conspicuously absent in the apology published by the Browns and adopted by Garrett. The malicious use of this wild and unfounded allegation is an assault on Mason’s integrity which is far worse than the physical assault witnessed on Thursday. This is reckless and shameful. We will haven o further comment.”
Shortly after it was announced that Garrett’s suspension would be upheld, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league looked into Garrett’s allegations that Mason Rudolph used a racial slur last Thursday night before the brawl “and found no such evidence,” according to Schefter.
Rudolph was expected to speak to the media after Thursday’s practice, but was not made available. However, Steelers captain Cameron Heyward defended his quarterback.
“It is kind of funny that it gets brought up now, but I don’t think that is what was said,” Heyward said via Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “Now you are trying to label a kid. He was distraught going into practice even thinking about it.”
Multiple Browns players were asked about Garrett’s allegation, but they did not have any additional information.
Jarvis Landry said: “I don’t have knowledge about that. I don’t have a comment. I didn’t hear anything so…”
Odell Beckham Jr. added that he did not see a reason Garrett would lie about such a bold allegation.
“I’m kind of just hearing it all,” Beckham said when talking to reporters Thursday. “Myles hasn’t been in the building. That’s what the appeal process is for. We all support Myles. Just praying there’s a resolution for what’s going on.”
Next up for the Browns is a matchup with the Dolphins on Sunday, while the Steelers will take on Cincinnati the same day.