In this case the loss is former 1st overall draft pick Myles Garrett for the remainder of the season. Myles Garrett has been one of Cleveland’s most consistent performers in an underwhelming season, but after ugly scenes in Thursday night’s games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Garrett finds himself suspended indefinitely.
So, what exactly occurred? The Cleveland Browns were leading 21-7 with just 8 seconds left in the game, when Myles Garrett slammed Pittsburgh Quarterback Mason Rudolph into the ground, with the ball already long gone from Rudolph’s hands. Presumably Garrett wanted to leave a lasting reminder of what he could do, ahead of the next meeting of the Steelers and Browns in just over 2 weeks’ time. Rudolph, understandably, reacted badly to an unnecessary hit, grabbing Garrett’s helmet and attempting to shove him away. However this is when things got ugly, as Garrett pulled Rudolph to his feet via his facemask, ripped Rudolph’s helmet off, and whacked him over the head with it. These sorts of actions could be classified as assault and as such, Rudolph is considering legal action.
— 6Godtv (@6Godtv) November 16, 2019
This sparked ugly scenes as Brown’s Larry Ogunjobi then threw Rudolph to the ground, followed by the Steelers’ Maurkice Pouncey bundling Garrett to the floor and proceeding to punch and kick him with head and body shots. The NFL is a violent game, but rarely do scenes get this ugly. Ogunjobi and Pouncey received 1 and 3 match bans respectively.
Myles Garrett immediately regretted his actions, stating post-match:
That is embarrassing, what I did was foolish, I made a mistake, I lost my cool and that’s on me. It’s going to come back to hurt our team.
Garrett again apologised to Rudolph in a statement on Friday:
Last night, I made a terrible mistake, …I know that we are all responsible for our actions and I can only prove my true character through my actions going forward. I want to apologise to Mason Rudolph, my team-mates, our entire organisation, our fans and to the NFL.
The Cleveland Browns general manager, coach and players also condemned their team-mate, with quarterback Baker Mayfield saying the incident was ‘dangerous‘ and ‘inexcusable‘. Star Wide Reciever Odell Beckham Jr said the game ‘felt like a loss‘.
The context of the incidence does Garrett no favours, as head injuries have become the NFL’s biggest issue, with rules changing year by year to reduce incidences. It was only a month ago when people were worried for Rudolph’s future after a severe blow to the head left him hospitalised for days and concussed for up to a fortnight. It is also worth considering what the reaction would be it was one of the league’s star quarterbacks and poster boys such as Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes on the end of the beating.
This wasn’t Garrett’s first unsavoury incident this season: on the opening weekend he was fined for punching Tennessee Titans’ Tight End Delanie Walker, and in week 2 he was fined for two late hits on New York Jets Quarterback Trevor Siemian. Myles Garrett almost epitomises the Browns: highly talented, but ill-disciplined. The Browns lead the league in Penalties conceded, penalty yards conceded, and have had more ejections this season than any team since 2001.
The Browns’ season has been one of disappointment. After years of struggles, this was supposed to be the year they finally gave Cleveland a team to be proud of, with superstars such as Odell Beckham Jr now on the roster. However, the Browns find themselves with a losing record, and trailing far behind the Baltimore Ravens atop the AFC North. The Browns currently have a 4-6 record, but have arguably the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL. This means that a wildcard spot in the playoffs may not be out of reach just yet, but it is undoubtedly more difficult to achieve without Myles Garrett.