Tim Benz: Steelers’ Maurkice Pouncey shouldn’t be suspended for defending Mason Rudolph in Myles Garrett melee | TribLIVE.com
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Tim Benz: Steelers’ Maurkice Pouncey shouldn’t be suspended for defending Mason Rudolph in Myles Garrett melee

Tim Benz
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers and the Browns clear the benches after the Browns’ Myles Garrett ripped off Mason Rudolph’s in the fourth Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett is punched by Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey and tackled by offensive guard David DeCastro Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Cleveland.

Anyone outside of Pittsburgh will disagree with this stance, but who cares?

The NFL should not suspend Maurkice Pouncey for his role in that Steelers-Browns brawl Thursday night.

The Steelers center started punching and kicking Myles Garrett after Garrett swung a helmet and struck Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph during the Browns’ 21-7 win over the Steelers on Thursday.

The most popular opinion I see online from folks is that Garrett should be suspended for the rest of the season year and Pouncey should get a game or two.

I agree with the first part. I disagree with the second part.

Why should Pouncey get suspended? At all?

When something goes as far beyond normal as Garrett’s helmet swing did, a player defending another player in danger can’t be held responsible for his actions to protect that teammate.

“At this point, who cares? My man got hit in the head with a helmet,” Pouncey told ESPN after the game. “I’ll accept whatever penalty it is.”

There shouldn’t be one. Not even a fine.

Pouncey did nothing to any other player besides Garrett. The referee was unable to get between Garrett and Rudolph to do his job and control the situation. The other two players in the vicinity — David DeCastro and Matt Feiler — tried to show restraint while protecting Rudolph. But they couldn’t get Garrett away without risking suspension themselves.

Pouncey had nothing left to do than meet the action with similar action. He had to lose control because Garrett had long since lost his own control.

As Pouncey said, he was “in full defense mode.”

The closest analogy I can draw is when Penguins enforcer Eric Godard jumped on the ice to prevent his goalie — Brent Johnson — from getting attacked by Michael Haley of the Islanders in 2011.

Godard got a 10-game suspension for that. It’s a mandatory penalty for leaving the bench to enter an on-ice fight. It’s a mandatory ejection for throwing a punch in the NFL. Pouncey got that.

But the supplemental discipline thereafter for Pouncey should be negated.

At that point, all Pouncey saw was a bigger, stronger player using a helmet as a weapon, swinging it at his teammate. Any action by Pouncey after that is to stop that player.

If Pouncey had pepper spray, he would’ve been justified in using it at that time.

Anything to stop Garrett from doing what he was doing. Disable and control the assailant. Pure and simple. Defend the teammate who had no headgear and was being attacked with his own missing helmet.

Nothing else need be said.

I’m sure my suggestion will fall on deaf ears, and I bet Pouncey will get suspended at least a game.

He shouldn’t be.

But if he is, then make sure Cleveland’s Larry Ogunjobi is suspended, too, for shoving Rudolph to the turf after he was hit in the head.

And make sure that suspension is for the rematch between the teams in two weeks.

And make sure, by that time, Pouncey is back from his.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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