One thing was clear after the ending of Thursday night’s matchup between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers – suspensions are coming.
After a chippy game that saw multiple penalties called on each team, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett took things to another level in the dying seconds, ripping the helmet off Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and clubbing him in the head with it as one of the more violent on-field melees in recent memory ensued. After the game, Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield wasn’t impressed with his teammate’s actions.
“I didn’t see why it started but that’s inexcusable. I don’t care – rivalry or not we can’t do that. That’s kind of the history of what’s been going on here lately, hurting yourself. That’s just endangering the other team. That’s inexcusable. He knows that. I hope he does now. It’s tough, we’ll see,” Mayfield told FOX Sports’ Erin Andrews on-field after the game.
“You know what, the reality is he’s going to get suspended. We don’t know how long and that hurts our team and we can’t do that. We can’t continue to hurt this team. It’s inexcusable.”
Garrett did own up to the incident in the dressing room, telling reporters things shouldn’t have escalated to that level.
“What I did was foolish, and I shouldn’t have allowed myself to slip like that,” he said. “It’s out of character.”
He also said he would address his teammates and apologize for the outburst.
“I thought it was pretty cowardly and bush league,” Rudolph said. “I’m not going to back down from any bully. I felt like I had a bone to pick with him. I appreciate the line always having my back, but I was angry.”
“I am embarrassed. Myles is embarrassed. It is not good. He understands what he did, he understands it is totally unacceptable, and we have to get through it,” Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens said.
“We have five seconds to go in a game. That can not happen,” he said. “We have five seconds to go in a game — the biggest game that this team has won. Never beat Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the same year since 1999, and then we have to talk about this.”
Garrett is sure to face hefty league discipline, but it remains to be seen if it will eclipse Albert Haynesworth’s record on-field behaviour ban of five games in 2006 for stomping on the head of Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Andre Gurode.
Cleveland and Pittsburgh will meet again in Week 13 on Dec. 1 at Heinz Field.