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Sorting through the Steelers-Browns aftermath

Holy freaking fuck ladies and gentleman. After last nights violent end to Thursday Night Football, the NFL has quite the Friday news dump for us. Specifically, we have the first wave of supplemental discipline from last nights brawl.

Let’s start with the elephant in the room. Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett is now under indefinite suspension with a minimum length of the remainder of the regular and postseason. There really isn’t need to add the postseason bit on there for a team sitting at 4-6 and without their biggest defensive playmaker. Garrett might as well have pounded that helmet through Cleveland’s waning playoff aspirations. Interestingly, the “minimum length” implies that the NFL will be sitting down this summer to determine if the 6 game suspension was sufficient. As it stands now, 6 games is the second longest suspension for an on-field offense behind only Vontaze Burfict, who was also suspended the remainder of the 2019 season back in September. There are several factors likely to be weighed by the commissioner this offseason including:

  • Should Garrett surpass Burfict? After all, Burfict was suspended based on a habit of repeat behavior. However, Garrett has been three separate times this season alone prior to this incident and has shown little remorse. He even stated he would not change how he played the game after a late hit ended Jets QB Trevor Siemian’s season. Garrett has quickly earned the title of repeat offender and has crossed a line even Burfict never did.
  • Who is on the Browns schedule to open the year? Obviously, it would be wise not to have Garrett returning against the Steelers.
  • How does Garrett respond? Garrett has been defensive about his prior incidents, but those mostly occurred within the play. If Garrett takes up the defensive again, could the NFL add more time to his sentence?

Pittsburgh Steelers center Marcus Pouncey was also suspended for three games for his part in the altercation. After Garrett struck Mason Rudolph, Pouncey drove Garrett to the ground, repeatedly punching Garrett’s head (which still had a helmet on) before standing up and kicking Garrett’s head. Most athletes will tell you they love the tenacity Pouncey showed defending his quarterback, but the NFL was wise not to allow kicks to the head to become a judgement call. Don’t be surprised if his teammates pay off his forfeited salary as a thank you. 

Cleveland DT Larry Ogunjobi was the final player suspended. Ogunjobi received one game for shoving Mason Rudolph to the ground behind the scrum. It may be surprising that Ogunjobi was suspended instead of fined considering his actions were no more than a 15 yard penalty had they occurred on any other play. Perhaps Rudolph not having a helmet escalated the offense in the league’s eyes, but this was tame.

Peculiarly, no supplemental discipline has been handed out the Mason Rudolph, who helped initiate the fight after Garrett drove him to the ground well after the ball was released. After some shoving, Rudolph yanked Garrets facemask and tried to remove Garrett’s helmet and definitely kicked Garrett in the nuts. His actions were nowhere near as bad as Garrett’s, but were probably worse than Ogunjobi’s. It is surprising he did not also receive a one game suspension (yet).

What’s lost most in the shuffle may be plays that had nothing to do with the fight. The Browns secondary was out for blood all gate. Safety Damarious Randell should be the most talked about player from his game after he made WR Dionte Johnson bleed from his ears after a flagrant helmet to helmet hit.

Randall was ejected from the game. It will be interesting to see how his punishment stacks up compared to those involved in the extracurriculars at the end of the game, but this is undoubtedly a suspension worth play.

CB Greedy Williams and S Morgan Burnett each could be facing fines for shots to the head of star WR Juju Smith-Schuster. Juju left the game with a concussion on this play after both defensive backs hit him helmet to helmet. However, this play is remarkably less intentional than the others in this game.

All in all, a total of 10 games in suspensions and $500,000 in fines have been levied so far but expect those numbers to rise astronomically. The NFL has already said they will fine any player that left the bench. What a bloody mess. But thats AFC North football. No love lost.


Photo: Originally from ESPN

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