Browns’ defensive end Myles Garrett appeared before the NFL suspension appeals committee today in New York City in order to attempt to shorten his indefinite suspension.
According to Dan Graziano of ESPN, Garrett’s hearing was slated for 9:30 am Eastern and was over in just two hours.
Garrett, along with representatives with the NFLPA, made the argument that the six games was indeed excessive.
They pointed out where another such case occurred in an actual game back in 2013 when defensive end Antonio Smith of the Houston Texans was rushing on a passing down against left guard Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins. On that play, Smith and Incognito were hand-fighting to which at some point Incognito takes a swing and whiffs. Smith’s reaction was to bend the guard down and then rip his helmet off backwards. With helmet in hand, Smith swings the hat at Incognito and strikes him. No penalty flag was thrown.
The end result of that altercation was that Smith was suspended for two preseason games, plus the opening game of 2013. Financially, Smith only lost one paycheck because all veterans receive the same weekly pay while involved in training camp whereas rookies receive a bit less. Preseason games are all a part of training camp so there wasn’t a financial hit towards Smith for those two games.
Under that prior situation handled by the league, Garrett argued that six games plus any playoff games plus any future contests is certainly excessive given the precedent in the Smith-Incognito case.
The NFLPA also argued that an indefinite suspension is not permitted under the league’s CBA.
At one point the NFL did not have any rule against one player using a helmet as a weapon against another player. Now called the “Lyle Alzado Rule” which was enacted in 1983.
Rule 12, Section 2, Article 16 specifies: USE OF HELMET AS A WEAPON. A player may not use a helmet that is no longer worn by anyone as a weapon to strike, swing at, or throw at an opponent. PENALTY: For illegal use of a helmet as a weapon: Loss of 15 yards and automatic disqualification. If the foul is by the defense, it is also an automatic first down.
In a 1982 divisional playoff game, Oakland Raiders’ defensive end Lyle Alzado took off New York Jets’ offensive tackle Chris Ward’s helmet and then threw it at him. The result of that altercation was a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Another helmet bashing occurred in 2002 in Kansas City Chiefs training camp. A fight broke out between offensive tackle John Tait and defensive end Eddie Freeman to which Freeman hit Tait with his own helmet. The incident broke Tait’s nose and required 17 stitches.
It was reported that the NFL wishes to come to a conclusion very soon on Garrett’s case. The Browns front office as well as coaching staff has stated all along they are in Garrett’s corner.
No word yet on if Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph will receive any type of punishment for his actions in the melee, a 21-7 Browns’ victory.