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Myles Garrett says he considered leaving football after Mason Rudolph helmet incident

Jack Baer
·Writer
·3 min read
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Myles Garrett’s helmet-bashing of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph triggered a season-ending suspension and ignited a firestorm around the Cleveland Browns defensive end. Apparently, the experience left him considering retirement.

In an interview with cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, Garrett said he contemplated quitting football during his suspension.

Garrett’s career was put on pause on Nov. 14, when a heated confrontation with Rudolph in the final seconds of a Browns win resulted in Garrett hitting the quarterback in the head with his own helmet and punches being thrown by Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey. Garrett alleged that Rudolph sparked the confrontation with a racial slur, which Rudolph has strongly denied and the NFL never substantiated.

Myles Garrett said he considered leaving football after hitting Mason Rudolph with a helmet. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Myles Garrett said he considered leaving football after hitting Mason Rudolph with a helmet. (AP Photo/David Richard)

Myles Garrett: Maybe I would have played baseball

Garrett was suspended indefinitely after the incident, and was later reinstated following the end of the season. During that time away from football, Garrett said he started thinking about what he would do without football, telling cleveland.com:

“I would’ve been OK. I love football. I love competing, I love my teammates, and I definitely want to win, but at the end of the day, I’m still a guy. I’m still a young man who has a lot of life to live and my life is much more than football. I just would’ve moved onto something else I enjoy and found another way to save my competitive nature, whether it would’ve been trying out for a basketball team or going to play baseball like [Michael] Jordan.

“I would’ve found something else I love to do, whether I was a writing coach or whatever. I would’ve left with my head held high and I wouldn’t have looked back.”

Garrett would like sitdown with Rudolph

Garrett also said that he’d sit down with Rudolph, now the Steelers’ backup behind Ben Roethlisberger, and clear the air. There would clearly be plenty to talk about. He told cleveland.com:

“If it were to happen, I’d be fine with it. Not just fine, but I wouldn’t mind it and I’d be happy to make it happen, if there were a way. I’m not sure how I’d go about that, how I’d broach that. I’m not even sure if he’d want to do that but I wouldn’t have a problem sitting down with him and just not talking about the incident, just talking man-to-man, how we move forward, and just being better men and football players and not letting something like that happen again.

“Whether we can do that, I’m not sure, but I’d be willing to extend the olive branch and make that happen.”

Garrett eventually decided against leaving football, and told Cabot that his ability to support charities and not wanting to be defined by the incident were reasons behind the decision. He later signed a five-year, $125 million contract extension from the Browns.

His first opportunity to move on from the incident on the field will come in the Browns’ opener on Sunday against the AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens.

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