On Friday, NFL spokesman Michael Signora tweeted the league’s decision: Garrett has been suspended indefinitely, and at minimum for the remainder of the 2019 season, including the playoffs.
The players are suspended without pay. Each franchise has been fined $250,000.
The NFL announcement says additional discipline could be coming. That could include at least a fine for Pittsburgh’s Mason Rudolph, who tried to take Garrett’s helmet off and kicked Garrett in the groin, intentionally or unintentionally.
Garrett “must meet with the commissioner’s office prior to a decision on his reinstatement,” the league announcement said. “He was also fined an additional amount. 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.”
Thursday night was Cleveland’s 10th game of the season, so Garrett’s suspension is for at least six games.
The Browns posted a statement from Garrett:
“Last night, I made a terrible mistake. 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 the NFL. I know I have to be accountable for what happened, learn from my mistake and I fully intend to do so.”
NFL’s history of suspensions for on-field incidents of violence
Earlier this season, Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict was suspended for a minimum of 12 games after a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit on the Colts’ Jack Doyle. Burfict’s suspension is the longest the NFL has seen for an on-field incident, but he had a long history that contributed to his discipline.
Before this year, the longest suspension for an on-field incident was Albert Haynesworth, who received a five-game punishment for ripping off the helmet of Dallas’ Andre Gurode and attempted to stomp on his head. Gurode needed 30 stitches to close his wound.
Pouncey was suspended and fined an additional amount for fighting, “including punching and kicking an opponent,” and Ogunjobi was also fined an additional amount for “unnecessary roughness, specifically for shoving an opposing player to the ground during an altercation.”
Garrett was the talk of the sporting world after he ripped Rudolph’s helmet off and then hit him in the head with it during a brawl at the end of Thursday night’s game. Ogunjobi was ejected for hitting Rudolph from behind. Pouncey was also ejected for punching and kicking Garrett.
Garrett was the No. 1 overall pick of the NFL draft in 2017 and has developed into one of the NFL’s best defensive players. But the image of him swinging Rudolph’s helmet and hitting Rudolph in the head with it will follow Garrett for a long time.
Steelers unhappy with Myles Garrett
Steelers players were angry after the game. Rudolph called Garrett’s actions “cowardly.” Pouncey, who punched Garrett after he swung Rudolph’s helmet and then kicked Garrett when he was on the ground, called for Garrett to be suspended for the rest of the season.
“Absolutely. Absolutely, 100 percent. We'll see how serious the NFL is about its players,” Pouncey said.
Many Browns were critical of Garrett, too. Quarterback Baker Mayfield called it “inexcusable.” Receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., on NFL Network’s postgame set, both called the incident “ugly.”
“Of course that's not who we want to be at the end of the game,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said in his postgame news conference. “That's not who Myles wants to be. That's not who we're going to be. Under no circumstance do we want anything to do with anything like that. I'm embarrassed. Myles is embarrassed. It's not good. He understands what he did. He understands it's totally unacceptable, and we've got to get through it.”
Garrett didn’t disagree with his coach.
“Absolutely. That is embarrassing,” Garrett said after the game. “What I did was foolish and I shouldn't have allowed myself to slip like that. That's out of character. But a situation like that where it's an emotional game, like Larry [Ogunjobi] said, and I allowed myself to fall into those emotions with that last play and what happened.”
Garrett’s reputation of being dirty was building
The NFL has given out long suspensions for on-field transgressions before, but it’s rare. The Haynesworth-Gurode and Burfict-Doyle incidents are notable examples.
Garrett had to fight the perception he was a dirty player after multiple penalties in Week 2 against the New York Jets, including one roughing the passer hit that broke Jets quarterback Trevor Siemian’s ankle. He was not suspended for that, however.
Garrett will have a hard time rehabilitating his image after what happened on Thursday night. He’s now a household name to even the most casual football fan, and not in the way he intended.
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