Dozens of former players and coaches have come forth condemning the on-field brawl that broke out Thursday night between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, but T.J. Lang added a little more praise to the conversation.
A two-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion with the Green Bay Packers, Lang had plenty to say on Twitter about the ugly situation that, by Friday morning, had resulted in several suspensions and a half-million dollars in fines between the two teams. But the former offensive lineman also commended Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield for his immediate response to the brawl in Thursday’s postgame.
“This is the most mature we have seen Baker so far in his short career,” Lang tweeted early Friday after Mayfield called Garrett’s actions “inexcusable” in his on-field interview with reporter Erin Andrews in the postgame.
Mayfield took charge in the Browns’ 21-7 home victory over the Steelers, scoring all three of their touchdowns on the night with one he rushed in himself on the team’s opening drive. But his performance seemed to almost fall secondary to the brawl that saw his teammate, Garrett, rip off the helmet of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and swing it into his head.
“I don’t care, rivalry or not, we can’t do that,” Mayfield said. “That’s kind of the history of what’s been going on here lately, hurting yourself, and that’s just endangering the other team. That’s inexcusable, he knows that. I hope he does now. It’s just tough, we’ll see.”
Praise aside, though, Lang made it perfectly clear he believes Garrett shouldn’t be allowed to play again this season with both his own comments and retweets of other former players who decried the brutal scene. The NFL appeared to agree and suspended Garrett indefinitely Friday morning in what will be a minimum sentence of the rest of the regular season and playoffs, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Follow the Heavy on Packers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Lang Has Experience in On-Field Fights
During his eight seasons with the Packers, Lang became quite familiar with dirty play similar to what occurred Thursday night in Cleveland. Twice a year, after all, he had to contend with former Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and his repeated antics, including two suspension-drawing stomps on his Packers teammates.
The first came in 2011 when Suh pressed center Evan Dietrich-Smith’s face into the turf until Lang and others pushed him off. He stomped down on Dietrich-Smith’s leg before walking away, which drew him a two-game suspension — one he appealed and lost.
The second one, while more of a step than a stomp, featured Suh in 2014 walking back onto the ankle of quarterback Aaron Rodgers as he watched the play. Suh remained standing on him for a few seconds until Rodgers reared up and pushed him away.
And yet, while Suh has paid more than $250,000 in fines with seven player-safety violations levied against him in his career, Lang said what Garrett did Thursday night was “10 times worse than anything Suh ever did.” He was adamant about there being no excuse whatsoever for Garrett’s behavior, expanding on Damien Woody’s comments Friday on ESPN’s Golic and Wingo show that it is “ridiculous” to try and give Garrett an out.