On Thursday, November 14th, 2019 the Pittsburgh Steelers played the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns dominated the Pittsburgh in every phase of the game as they won the Thursday Night Football game 21-7.
With the game clock running down under one minute left in the contest, superstar defensive lineman, Myles Garrett, tackled the Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph hard to the turf as he was attempting a deep pass downfield. Rudolph tore off Garrett’s helmet while he was still underneath.
Garrett proceeded to tear off Rudolph’s helmet and then swing it at his unprotected head full speed and that shot to head connected hard. Maurkice Pouncey the center of the Pittsburgh Steelers defended his quarterback after that by throwing punches and heavy kicks to Garrett. The brawling then was finished off by Cleveland’s Larry Ogunjobi pushed down Rudolph from behind.
Both Garrett, Pouncey as well as Ogunjobi were immediately ejected from Thursday Night Football with the final 8 seconds of game time left on the clock. Rudolph was not tossed out for fighting. The NFL handed down the resulting fines and suspensions as of Friday, November 15th, 2019.
The league decided to suspend Garrett for the remainder of the 2019-2020 regular season and NFL Playoffs this year, and he will continue to be indefinitely suspended until he meets with league officials and the commission of the NFL Roger Goodell to no earlier than next year to have the possible opportunity of being reinstated to play in the National Football League.
Defensive tackle of the Cleveland Browns, Ogunjobi was suspended for one game while Pittsburgh Steelers center, Pouncey, received a three game suspension handed down by the NFL. Both the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers organizations were fined $250,000.00 by the National Football League as well.
“I lost my cool and I regret it,” Garrett explained. “It’s going to come back to hurt our team. The guys who jumped into the scrum, I appreciate my team having my back, but it never should have gotten to that point.
“It’s on me.”
“I thought it was pretty cowardly and bush league,” says Rudolph. “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.”
“This is a physical, violent game and there’s moments if you don’t keep your cool, bad things can happen and he knows that. It’s inexcusable and he knows that,” Baker Mayfield exclaimed. “There’s no other way around it, he’s going to own up to it and he’s going to handle it and this locker room is going to have to come together because this is going to be a soap opera on the outside much like the media has portrayed us to be for the whole season.”
“It feels like we lost,” Mayfield stated.
“It's ugly,” Beckham replied. It's not something we want in the NFL.”
“I don’t know how he got to the point that it’s OK to use a helmet as a weapon,” Steelers defensive tackle, Cameron Heyward, expressed. “I know we play a sport that’s violent, but it should never have gotten handled like that. That dumb stuff shouldn’t be allowed.
“For someone to use a helmet as a weapon is uncalled for. I know you’ve got to ask me the question, but he’s got to answer for that.”
"I've never seen that in my life," says Freddie Kitchens. "It's not good."
"What I did was foolish, and I shouldn't allow myself to slip like that," Garrett explained. "That's out of character, but a situation like that where it's an emotional game, and I allowed myself to fall into those emotions with what happened."
"Absolutely, 100 percent,” Pouncey replied. "We'll see how serious the NFL is about their players. ... My man got hit in the head with a helmet."
"At that point, it's bigger than football," says Pouncey. "It's protection. ... He could have killed him. What if he'd hit in him the temple?"
"Myles is a good dude," Haden stated. "I mean, I've never seen him act like that or do anything like that on what happened. But that's not OK."
"That part's football," Pouncey explained. "Guys are trying not to hit guys helmet to helmet. ... That's not the first time that's happened. We can't say that was it. This was just sporadic."
Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin said, "no comment" on the incident, only to say, "You guys saw what happened."
"Obviously, stuff like that is dangerous," Mayfield exclaimed. "So it was tough to see that, knowing Mason.
"It was tough to watch."
"Last night, I made a terrible mistake," Garrett stated. "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 to the NFL. I know I have to be accountable for what happened, learn from my mistake, and I fully intend to do so."
In a statement, the NFL announced, "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."
"He understands the magnitude of what occurred last night, and he's very remorseful, he's very sorry for his actions," says Kitchen. "He understands that he let himself down, that he let his teammates down, he let his organization down.
"We look at our team as a family. And in a family, sometimes family members make mistakes. You support them in every way that you can, even if it's an egregious mistake."
"We are extremely disappointed in what transpired last evening at the end of our game. There is no place for that in football and that is not reflective of the core values we strive for as an organization. We sincerely apologize to Mason Rudolph and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Myles Garrett has been a good teammate and member of our organization and community for the last three years but his actions last night were completely unacceptable. We understand the consequences from the league for his actions."
"As an organization, we are disappointed with what occurred last night near the end of our game against the Cleveland Browns," says Steelers president Art Rooney II. "The actions of the players involved were not something that should be part of any football game.
"Our players, coaches and everyone in the Steelers organization understand that we must always maintain composure, no matter what happens. After a hard-fought game between two rivals, it is a shame that the game ended that way."
"Hands down," Heyward stated. "And I told those other players on the other side, 'You all better handle that.' I don't care who is out there. We play this game, we all work for it -- but for someone to use a helmet as a weapon is uncalled for."
"He just wanted to apologize to us," Bitonio said. "Said he lost his cool. Said it was a moment of weakness."
“Browns, Steelers brawl at end of Cleveland’s 21-7 win”, espn.com, November 15, 2019.
“Three ejected after nasty brawl tarnishes end of Steelers-Browns”, Brooke Pryor and Jake Trotter, espn.com, November 15, 2019.
“Browns' Myles Garrett suspended indefinitely; Steelers' Maurkice Pouncey gets 3-game ban”, Brooke Pryor and Jake Trotter, espn.com, November 15, 2019.