Garrett awaits league ruling
CLEVELAND — Myles Garrett looked composed and casual, a stark contrast to the last time he was seen in public.
Stylishly dressed in a bright blue suit and black turtleneck, the Cleveland Browns’ star defensive end met Wednesday with an appeals officer in New York in hopes of getting a reduction to an indefinite NFL suspension that has temporarily ended Garrett’s season and tarnished his career.
Garrett was banned last week for the rest of the regular season and playoffs, if Cleveland makes them, for striking Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with a helmet. Garrett appealed and his case was heard by league-appointed officer James Thrash, a former NFL player, who will either lessen the penalty or put a definitive number of games on it.
The former No. 1 overall draft pick spent roughly two hours in the league’s Manhattan offices before leaving with his representatives. He did not speak to the media.
In the closing seconds of the Browns’ 21-7 victory over the rival Steelers on Thursday night, Garrett wrestled Rudolph to the ground before they scuffled. Pittsburgh’s QB unsuccessfully tried to rip off Garrett’s helmet before the two got to their feet.
That’s when Garrett yanked off Rudolph’s helmet, swinging it and connecting with the top of the QB’s head. Rudolph avoided injury and was not suspended despite his attempt to grab Garrett’s helmet or charging at him.
On Wednesday, Rudolph, who likely will be fined for his involvement, said he doesn’t begrudge Garrett.
“I have no ill will toward Myles Garrett, great respect for his ability as a player and I know if Myles could go back he would handle the situation differently,” Rudolph told reporters in Pittsburgh after reading a prepared statement. “As for my involvement last week, there is no acceptable excuse. The bottom line is I should have done a better job keeping my composure in that situation.
“It falls short of what I believe it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and a member of the NFL.”
It’s unclear when Thrash will rule on Garrett’s appeal. As part of his punishment, the league said Garrett is required to meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell’s office before he can be reinstated.
While Garrett awaits a ruling on his case, Thrash upheld the one-game suspension for Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, who was disciplined for shoving a helmet-less Rudolph to the ground during the melee.
Thrash did rescind a $10,527 fine for Ogunjobi, who will have to sit out this week’s game against the Miami Dolphins.
The Browns will be down at least two starters on their defensive line and could be missing three if Olivier Vernon doesn’t return from a knee injury that has kept him out of the past two games.
Earlier this week, appeals officer Derrick Brooks, a Hall of Fame linebacker, heard Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey’s appeal of a three-game suspension for punching and kicking Garrett as he lay on the ground.
The league said decisions on Garrett and Pouncey will come “later this week.”
Browns coach Freddie Kitchens would not divulge who from the team accompanied Garrett to his hearing.
“Myles has great representation,” Kitchens said. “More importantly, Myles will represent himself well. We’re going to continue to support him and Larry and we will not waver with that support.”
Ogunjobi ban upheld
CLEVELAND — The one-game NFL suspension for Cleveland Browns starting defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi for his role in the brawl with the Pittsburgh Steelers was upheld by an appeals officer.
Ogunjobi shoved Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph seconds after Cleveland teammate Myles Garrett swung a helmet and struck the Steelers QB in the head. Garrett was suspended indefinitely by the league for his alarming assault. His appeal was heard in New York on Wednesday.
Former NFL player James Thrash let Ogunjobi’s suspension stand but did rescind a $10,527 fine. Ogunjobi will miss Sunday’s game against Miami.
After Garrett smashed Rudolph with the helmet, Ogunjobi ran up behind and pushed the helmet-less quarterback to the ground.
Thrash also heard Garrett’s appeal while Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks listened Tuesday to an appeal by Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, who was suspended three games for punching and kicking Garrett.
The league said those decisions will come later this week.