In what will probably go down as the most egregious and flagrant foul of this NFL season, Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett went after Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in a big way as the two teams met up last night. With five seconds left, with the Browns already controlling the game, Garrett and Rudolph got into an altercation that had both teams scrambling to restore order. Garrett, who ripped Rudolph’s helmet off his head and struck him in the head with it, is fortunate that the hit he placed on Rudolph didn’t cause serious or permanent damage.
Red Mist For Browns’ Garrett
Rudolph, who was returning after a short absence due to injury in the NFL, completed a pass to running back Trey Edmunds when Garrett came in for the kill. Already on the ground, Rudolph grabbed for Garrett’s helmet, leading to what should have been a simple scuffle between the two. However, Garrett took it to heart and ripped off Rudolph’s helmet – and then slammed it against his head.
Things got worse from there, as Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey did what he is trained to do – protect the quarterback. He entered the melee, as did Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, and the ordeal spiraled out of control before the two teams could step in and restore order.
After taking a look at the situation, the NFL decided to suspend Garrett “at a minimum for the remainder of the regular season and postseason and must meet with the commissioner’s office prior to a decision on his reinstatement,” according to a statement the league published today. Pouncey received a three-game suspension and Ogunjobi will be out the Browns’ next game without pay. Garrett will almost certainly be fined for his actions, and the league acknowledged that both of the other players involved will also have to break out the wallets.
The Browns were forced to conduct damage control, with the team owners, Dee and Jimmy Haslam, stating of the Garrett incident, “We are extremely disappointed in what transpired last evening at the end of our game. There is no place for that in football and that is not reflective of the core values we strive for as an organization. We sincerely apologize to Mason Rudolph and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Myles Garrett has been a good teammate and member of our organization and community for the last three years but his actions last night were completely unacceptable. We understand the consequences from the league for his actions.”
The statement wasn’t enough to keep the team out of trouble, though, as the Browns, as well as the Steelers, will pay a $250,000 fine. Additional fines and suspensions could be levied as the NFL continues to evaluate what transpired.
Garrett tried to make amends for his actions for the Browns, but it does little good at this point. He issued a statement in which he apologizes for the incident, saying, “Last night, I made a terrible mistake. I lost my cool and what I did was selfish and unacceptable. 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.”
The Steelers issued a statement of their own, essentially mimicking the response by the Browns. The teams, and the players, can try to appeal the fines, but they would most likely only be wasting their time.
The two teams will meet up again on December 1, but, hopefully, without the level of aggression and over-the-top action seen yesterday.