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What Now? Browns awaiting NFL’s decision on Myles Garrett

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I still can’t believe what we saw last night.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-7 on Thursday Night Football, but instead of being able to enjoy the victory, the aftermath has been all about what happened on what was basically the final play of the game: a melee that involved multiple ejections, including an egregious act by DE Myles Garrett:

As a fan, it is common to take your own player’s side in any matter, but I can’t in this case. As quiet-mannered and nice of a guy as Garrett comes off to be, he has a quick temper. Heck, in the first game this season against the Tennessee Titans, Garrett was lucky that he wasn’t ejected when he threw an open-hand punch at a Titans offensive lineman. This? Cracking the head of a player with their own helmet? That is indefensible, and at least in my reactionary moment, makes me passionless about our best defensive player.

With all of that said, Rudolph is not an innocent victim in all of this either. Garrett finished a quarterback hit as Rudolph released the pass, and he was not flagged for it. Rudolph then initiated the matter by trying to rip Garrett’s helmet off — and then it appears as though Rudolph also tried kicking Garrett in the groin. Garrett retaliates by ripping Rudolph’s helmet off, which draws the flag.

Garrett is restrained by Steelers OL David DeCastro, and the matter would’ve been over...but Rudolph charges at Garrett, shouting something. Garrett then winds up and cracks Rudolph in the head. Fortunately for everyone’s sake, it was the bottom of the helmet that hit Rudolph, but I still don’t know how he was rather unfazed by that. Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey then starts wailing punches and kicks at Garrett as benches clear. Pouncey will receive a suspension too, but I really don’t fault him too much for his reaction. This issue should be all on Rudolph and Garrett when it comes to suspensions — although I get the feeling that Rudolph will get off pretty easy.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network said this morning that the league is reviewing the matter thoroughly from start to finish, but also speculated that news of the suspension could come swiftly on Friday:

I think suspending Garrett for the remainder of the regular season would be justified. It sucks that it would be a huge defensive loss for the Browns, but I don’t even care much about that right now; that is how embarrassing and unjustifiable Garrett’s reaction was. From a defensive standpoint, the best-case scenario Cleveland could hope for in my opinion is that he gets just four games, which would allow him to return for a divisional showdown against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16.

Albert Haynesworth received a five-game suspension when he stomped on an opponent’s head with his cleat many years ago, so that could also be a relatable precedent that the league looks at. One might argue that Garrett being provoked in the matter will help his cause, but come on — at the end of the day, Garrett still swung a freaking helmet and connected with Rudolph’s head.

Cleveland also has a choice to make, which is what I would do: take it out of the league’s hands and suspend Garrett themselves:

What is your take on the matter, Browns fans?