CLEVELAND, OH – At the end of the Browns and Steelers game, a fight broke out that caused the NFL to hand out the longest suspension for a single on-field incident.
The game was well in hand for the Browns, who were up by 14 points with 13 seconds remaining. Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph dropped back and threw a swing pass to Fitzgerald Toussaint. After the pass was thrown, he was taken to the ground by Myles Garrett where chaos ensued.
Rudolph, who threw four interceptions earlier in the game, took offense to the hit. He attempted to remove Garrett’s helmet while lying on the ground. Garrett then took off Rudolph’s helmet and proceeded to use it as a weapon against him. He hit Rudolph on top of the head with the helmet.
Steelers lineman Maurkice Pouncey started throwing punches and kicking Garrett after that. Browns lineman Larry Ogunjobi added insult to injury after he pushed him into the ground from behind. Garrett, Pouncey and Ogunjobi were all ejected from the final eight seconds of the game.
The NFL came down hard with fines and suspensions. Rudolph did not receive a fine or suspension. Ogunjobi received a one-game suspension and Pouncey a three-game suspension. Garrett is suspended indefinitely, meaning he is out for at least the rest of the 2019 season. He has also been fined an undisclosed amount. All three are appealing their suspensions.
“I want to apologize to Mason Rudolph, my teammates, our entire organization, our fans and to the NFL.” Said Garrett. “I know I have to be accountable for what happened, learn from my mistake, and I fully intend to do so.”
Garrett was the first overall pick in the 2017 draft. He has had a few instances of aggressive behavior this season. He was fined $42,112 for two hits on New York Jets quarterback Trevor Simeian. One of those hits resulted in Simeian suffering a season-ending ankle injury. Garrett also was fined $10,527 for hitting Tennessee Titans tight-end, Delanie Walker, in the facemask.
The incident was a bad look for the NFL, who has suffered from the game being viewed as too violent recently. Both organizations were fined $250,000. This primetime game took place on Thursday night with an estimated 15.4 million people watching.
The Steelers and Browns meet again December 1st in Pittsburgh.