National Football League upholds Browns DE Garrett's suspension, ending season

Former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas ripped Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph over the player's prepared statement on his role in a brawl with Myles Garrett.

On Wednesday, Garrett attended his appeals hearing in NY and made his case to former player James Thrash for a reduction of his penalty, which will damage Cleveland's season and stain the 24-year-old's budding career.

Rudolph refused to speak with reporters about the allegations but has strongly denied the accusation with his teammates, the team and through his agent.

"Mason vehemently denies the report of being accused of using a racial slur during the incident Thursday night in Cleveland".

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Quarterback Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers fights with defensive end Myles Garrett #95 of the Cleveland Browns during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 14, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. "As I released the ball, I took a late shot". He appeared to grab at Garrett's helmet and facemask while the two scrapped on the turf. Garrett then swung the helmet at Rudolph, connecting on the right side of Rudolph's head. To support Garrett's position, the NFL Players Association pointed to a past punishment for a helmet-swinging incident. Many fans, even many outside of Browns' fans feel like Rudolph made the situation worse by his actions and could have avoided the hit he took by Myles Garrett.

The way Rudolph went about it - a process that contributed to a brawl that culminated with Rudolph getting smacked in the head with his own helmet and led to Garrett getting suspended by the National Football League indefinitely - is one of the first-year starter's regrets.

The league did reduce the suspension for Steelers OL Maurkice Pouncey from three games to two upon his appeal. "But like I said, I have to do a better job of keeping my composure in those situations", he said. Thomas took issue that it took almost a week for Rudolph to speak about the fight.

"I know he's not going to talk about it because he's being villainized by it but he said, 'I'm going to be labeled as (a racist)", Heyward said.

  • Lawrence Cooper