Browns’ Myles Garrett suspended indefinitely, Steelers’ Maurkice Pouncey 3 games for brawl
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell acted swiftly to discipline Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett for swinging Mason Rudolph’s helmet at the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback’s unprotected head, suspending him indefinitely Friday afternoon with the punishment carrying through at least the rest of the regular season and postseason.
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, who rushed to Rudolph’s defense and punched Garrett and kicked him in the head, was suspended three games. Browns defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi was suspended one game for shoving Rudolph to the ground during the melee.
All three players have been fined an unspecified amount. The NFL also fined the Browns and Steelers organizations $250,000 apiece.
“Last night, I made a terrible mistake. I lost my cool and what I did was selfish and unacceptable,” Garrett said in a statement released Friday. “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.”
Statement from Myles Garrett: pic.twitter.com/txVA970CmW
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 15, 2019
According to a release from the NFL, Garrett must apply for reinstatement and meet with Goodell’s office prior to being allowed to play again. In determining the suspension for Garrett, the NFL said Garrett “violated unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules, as well as fighting, removing the helmet of an opponent and using the helmet as a weapon.”
Steelers, Browns organizations each fined $250,000.
Browns' Garrett, Ogunjobi & Steelers' Pouncey suspended. pic.twitter.com/HJ4Qnc4xsY
— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) November 15, 2019
The league also announced discipline will be forthcoming for players who left the bench area and participated in the fight that began with eight seconds remaining in the Steelers’ 21-7 loss to the Browns. NFL Network reported Rudolph’s conduct for engaging Garrett prior to the helmet-swinging incident also will be reviewed for a potential fine.
“As an organization, we are disappointed with what occurred last night near the end of our game against the Cleveland Browns,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said in a statement. “The actions of the players involved were not something that should be part of the game.
“Our players, coaches and everyone in the Steelers organization understand that we must always maintain composure, no matter what happens. After a hard-fought game between two rivals, it is a shame that the game ended that way.”
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 15, 2019
The suspension of at least six games for Garrett exceeds the punishment Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth received in 2006 when he stomped on the unprotected head of Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode. Haynesworth received a five-game suspension.
“We are extremely disappointed in what transpired last evening at the end of our game,” Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam said in a statement. “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.”
Garrett tackled Rudolph after a completion, and the two players tussled on the ground. Rudolph grabbed at Garrett’s helmet before Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet. As Rudolph approached Garrett, the defensive lineman swung the helmet, hitting Rudolph in the head. Rudolph said he was not injured by the blow, but he called Garrett’s actions “bush league and totally cowardly.”
Timothy Younger, who represents Rudolph, said on Twitter the incident “will be reviewed internally” for potential legal action against Garrett.
“There are many risks and NFL QB assumes with every snap taken on the field,” Younger wrote. “Being hit on your uncovered head by a helmet being swung by a 275 lb DE is not one of them. Tonight could have had a catastrophic ending.”
Pouncey said he would accept any punishment doled out by the NFL, stating he was sticking up for his teammate.
Players have three business days to file an appeal, which will be heard by either Derrick Brooks or James Thrash, the NFL officials appointed by the league and its players association to decide appeals based on on-field discipline.
The two teams meet again Dec. 1 at Heinz Field.
Maybe one of the ugliest moments in pro sports at #BrownsVsSteelers game as #Steelers QB #RUDOLPH got pummeled on his head by his own helmet by #browns #Garrett. #NFL #QB #BakerMayfield, in his post-game interview, says teammate #MylesGarrett's actions are "inexcusable". pic.twitter.com/fYP9KplA4c
— Doug Z. Goodstein (@dougzgoodstein) November 15, 2019
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .