About a week after receiving an “indefinite suspension” from the National Football League for egregious unnecessary roughness stemming from an on-field fight, during which he smashed a helmet down on the head of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph, Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett was given the opportunity to plead his case.
Garrett attended the appeals hearing held in New York on November 20, where he tried to get a lesser penalty for the infraction, saying at one point, he “should have done a better job keeping (his) composure in that situation.”
An appeals officer was not interested in any excuses or pleas, upholding the “indefinite suspension,” which will include at least all six remaining regular season games for the Brown, as well as the playoffs…if the Browns make it that far. That’s a question that, for many, Garrett had been the answer to. With the Browns vaunted offense in a slump, Garrett stepped up to lead a stingy defense, emerging as one of the best edge rushers in the NFL.
In the midst of what was shaping up to be a historic season, Garrett was well on his way to cementing his name in Browns lore, as his team had whipped the rival Steelers, but, in the waning moments of the victory, Garrett clashed with Rudolph, pulling off his helmet and smacking him in the head with it. The NFL called the action “using a weapon,” and tossed Garret’s potentially reputation-making season out.
Fines came, larger than the previous fines Garrett had already received. Then came the suspension and a tentative date for a meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell, which must happen prior to reinstatement.
The NFL sent a further message through its appeals officer, Hall of Fame linebacker, Derrick Brooks. The former Bucs defensive leader chose to reduce suspensions for other players involved in the fracas, such as Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, but not for Garrett.
Garrett, meanwhile, it’s being reported, claims Rudolph instigated the entire situation by using a racial slur. The quarterback “vehemently denies” doing so. And his teammates are sending the message that Garrett’s actions were completely out of character. They are openly wondering, in the locker room and in the press, what Rudolph may have done to cause Garrett to snap.
That insinuation adds a wrinkle to this developing story. It will be interesting to see what is said about this issue in the coming weeks, as two teams fighting for their playoff lives contend without some of their best players.