The Cleveland Browns should know once and for all the status of defensive end Myles Garrett and defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi by Wednesday.
That is according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who reported on Sunday that former plays Derrick Brooks and James Thrash are expected to listen to the appeals of Garrett and Ogunjobi, along with Maurkice Pouncey of the Pittsburgh Steelers, on Monday or Tuesday and could make a ruling by the middle of the week.
Suspension appeal rulings from Steelers-Browns brawl expected by Wednesday morning at latest, per sources.https://t.co/3qYrsieFeT— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 17, 2019
Garrett is facing an indefinite suspension for hitting Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph with his own helmet, while Ogunjobi was suspended for one game for pushing Rudolph to the ground.
Related: Mason Rudolph was the instigator
There is some good news in all this for the Browns, especially when it comes to Garrett. While the NFL was quick to hand down a suspension, it turns out that giving a player an indefinite suspension for something that happened on the field is not allowed in the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
As #Browns DE Myles Garrett gets set to appeal his lengthy suspension, one source said an argument will be that the CBA does not allow for indefinite suspensions for on-field acts. Garrett will hope for a finite number, as well as a reduction.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 17, 2019
Schefter also pointed out that Brooks and Thrash have not rubber stamped suspensions handed down by the league. Rather, the duo have “shown a willingness to be open- and fair-minded, reducing past suspensions if warranted.”
Schefter gave several examples from 2017, when Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict had a suspension reduced from five games to three games in 2017, Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan had a suspension reduced from two games to one game, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree had a suspension reduced from two games to one, and Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib had a suspension reduced from two games to one.
While Garrett deserves some form of punishment for the incident, that fact that the indefinite suspension violates the CBA, coupled with the fact that Rudolph started the incident then escalated it, should make a compelling argument during his appeal process.
A three-game suspension would likely be a reasonable outcome to the situation. Garrett has to miss some time and there is no way the league will let him play against the Steelers on December 1. But a three-game suspension would cover games against the Miami Dolphins (currently 2-7) and the Cincinnati Bengals (0-9) in addition to the Steelers, which would be manageable for the Browns.
As to how the NFL determined the severity of the punishments imposed on Garrett and Ogunjobi, Troy Vincent, the NFL’s head of football operations, laid out his logic to Jason La Canfora at CBS Sports.
Starting with Garrett, it is pretty clear why he is facing a suspension:
“That’s not us. That’s not who we are. There is no place for that in our game. We all know that. That, frankly, is an easy decision to suspend the player for the duration of the season ... Imagine if he hit him with the crown of the helmet? We cannot have that on a football field.”
Ogunjobi picked up his penalty because it could have made things worse:
“This is an individual who, in our view, was going out of his way to escalate this situation. This is an action that could start another melee. It is a potential re-escalation.”
As to why Rudolph did not receive a suspension for trying to pull off Garrett’s helmet, trying twice to kick him and escalating the situation by going after Garrett once things were starting to calm down, Vincent determined that a fine was sufficient:
”The grabbing of the facemask, that is a fine. We’ll continue to sort through that next week, but yes, there could be multiple fines coming to him if we find another action that constitutes unsportsmanlike conduct.”
Vincent also said that more fines are likely on the way for everyone involved, so this story should easily carry on through the upcoming week.