Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett was suspended without pay indefinitely on Friday after ripping the helmet off Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph and striking him in the head with it in Thursday night's game.
Garrett will miss the Browns’ remaining six regular-season games and the playoffs, if they get that far. Garrett was sanctioned for violating “unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules, as well as fighting, removing the helmet of an opponent and using the helmet as a weapon,” according to a statement from NFL senior vice president of communications Michael Signora. Garrett also was fined for his behavior.
Garrett must meet with commissioner Roger Goodell’s office before his reinstatement can be considered.
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was suspended three games without pay and fined an additional amount for punching and kicking Garrett while the defensive end was on the ground during the melee, which occurred late in the fourth quarter of the Browns’ 21-7 win over the Steelers at First Energy Stadium in Cleveland.
Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi also was suspended without pay for one game and fined additionally for unnecessary roughness.
Rudolph also faces a fine for unnecessary roughness but will not be suspended. The NFL said additional players are subject to fines, including those who left the bench during the altercation. The league also fined the Browns and Steelers organizations $250,000 each.
Rudolph’s agent, Tim Young, said in an interview on ESPN on Friday that he was reviewing the incident and that “no [legal] options have been removed from the table.”
Garrett apologized for the incident in a statement released after the suspension was announced.
“Last night, I made a terrible mistake," he said. “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.”
All players have three business days to file appeals of their penalties. The appeals will be heard by either Derrick Brooks or James Thrash, both of whom are jointly approved by the NFL and the NFL Players Association to oversee the appeals process.
The helmet-swinging incident occurred in the closing seconds of the game after Garrett, a former No. 1 overall pick and 2018 Pro Bowl honoree, tackled Rudolph. While on the ground, Rudolph grabbed Garrett’s helmet before Garrett grabbed Rudolph’s facemask and ripped the helmet off his head. When Rudolph went at Garrett, the Browns’ lineman swung the helmet and hit the quarterback over the head, which was unprotected.
“It was bush league and a total coward move on his part,” Rudolph said after the game. “It’s OK, I’ll take it. I'm not going to back down from any bully out there.”
Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam issued an apology to Rudolph in a statement and said they were “extremely disappointed in what transpired … There is no place for that in football, and that is not reflective of the core values we strive for as an organization.”