Freddie Kitchens stands by 'good person' Myles Garrett as Roger Goodell talks suspension

If there was any question about where the Cleveland Browns stood after Myles Garrett swung a football helmet at Mason Rudolph’s exposed head last week, head coach Freddie Kitchens cleared it up on Monday.

The Browns are standing by their former No. 1 overall pick.

‘Bad lapse in judgment’

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Kitchens addressed the issue with reporters on Monday, chalking the incident up to a “bad lapse in judgment.”

“Myles Garrett is good person, and we are not going to pile on Myles,” Kitchens said. “He had a bad lapse in judgement, and that is it. I am still a Myles Garrett fan, and I am still going to support him. Our organization is going to support him, and his teammates are going to support him, and this coaching staff will support him.”

Garrett’s appeal set for Wednesday

Garrett is appealing the indefinite suspension the league handed down and reportedly intends to attend the hearing scheduled for Wednesday at the NFL’s league offices in New York. He is reportedly challenging the “indefinite” nature of the suspension that is not permitted under the collective bargaining agreement for on-field incidents.

Freddie Kitchens made clear that the Browns are standing behind their former No. 1 pick. (Scott R. Galvin-USA Today)
Freddie Kitchens made clear that the Browns are standing behind their former No. 1 pick. (Scott R. Galvin-USA Today)

When asked if Rudolph provoked Garrett into the attack, Kitchens pointed to the game film.

“Everybody here saw the tape,” Kitchens said. “I am just here to support. I will support Myles. Our team will support Myles. I am not going to get into that. You saw the tape.”

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‘No excuse’

When asked to clarify if he thought any provocation by Rudolph justified Garrett’s response, Kitchens said there “is no excuse” for Garrett’s attack.

“There is no excuse for that to happen on a football field,” Kitchens said. “I know that, Myles knows that and all of the players in the locker room know that. That is it. There is no excuse, but in saying that, we are going to support Myles Garrett moving forward in any way he needs support.”

Goodell plans to meet with Garrett after the season

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also addressed the issue in an interview with OTG’s Gary Myers published on Monday.

“Anything that is outside the game is problematic to us,” Goodell said. “And there's no place for that in the game. It's completely outside of football. It's not an incorrect tackling technique or anything else. It's just completely outside the game of football.”

Goodell said the league’s plan is to meet with Garrett in the offseason to determine the “indefinite” portion of his suspension beyond his ban for the remainder of this season.

“He will probably meet with us sometime in the offseason, and I think we'll make a judgment on, 'does he have remorse?’” Goodell said. “Does he understand why it's not acceptable? Do we understand what he's going to do to make sure it doesn't happen again?” 

Garrett is a critical player for the Browns as their primary pass rusher. He made the Pro Bowl after tallying 13.5 sacks in his second season in 2018 and leads Cleveland with 10 sacks through 10 games this season.

His absence this season is a blow to the Browns’ hopes of rallying to the playoffs after a 4-6 start, and any suspension beyond this season will have a significant impact on the team’s outlook.

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