Browns' Garrett says precedent doesn't support suspension: report
Cleveland DE appeals penalty for hitting Pittsburgh QB with helmet
Myles Garrett looked composed and casual, a stark contrast to the last time he was seen in public.
Stylishly dressed in a bright blue suit and black turtleneck, the Cleveland Browns' star defensive end met Wednesday with an appeals officer in New York in hopes of getting a reduction to an indefinite NFL suspension that has temporarily ended Garrett's season and tarnished his career.
Garrett was banned last week for the rest of the regular season and playoffs, if Cleveland makes them, for striking Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with a helmet. Garrett appealed and his case was heard by league-appointed officer James Thrash, a former NFL player, who will either lessen the penalty or put a definitive number of games on it.
The former No. 1 overall draft pick spent roughly two hours in the league's Manhattan offices before leaving with his representatives. He did not speak to the media.
An ESPN report said Garrett argued precedent doesn't support his indefinite ban. Citing a source, ESPN's Dan Graziano said Garrett and representatives from the players union argued in an appeal hearing in New York that a player involved in a similar incident in 2013 received only a three-game suspension.
In the closing seconds of the Browns' 21-7 victory over the rival Steelers on Thursday night, Garrett wrestled Rudolph to the ground before they scuffled. Pittsburgh's QB unsuccessfully tried to rip off Garrett's helmet before the two got to their feet.
That's when Garrett yanked off Rudolph's helmet, swinging it and connecting with the top of the QB's head. Rudolph avoided injury and was not suspended despite his attempt to grab Garrett's helmet or charging at him.
WATCH | Myles Garrett suspended indefinitely for using helmet 'as a weapon'
Graziano reported Garrett and his team likened the action to what happened in a 2013 pre-season game when Houston's Antonio Smith swung his helmet at offensive lineman Richie Incognito, who then played for the Miami Dolphins.
Smith, a defensive end who was out of the league after the 2016 season, was suspended for two pre-season games and one regular-season game.
On Wednesday, Rudolph, who likely will be fined for his involvement, said he doesn't begrudge Garrett.
"I have no ill will toward Myles Garrett, great respect for his ability as a player and I know if Myles could go back he would handle the situation differently," Rudolph told reporters in Pittsburgh after reading a prepared statement. "As for my involvement last week, there is no acceptable excuse. The bottom line is I should have done a better job keeping my composure in that situation.
"It falls short of what I believe it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and a member of the NFL."
It's unclear when Thrash will rule on Garrett's appeal. As part of his punishment, the league said Garrett is required to meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell's office before he can be reinstated.
Earlier this week, he and Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks heard appeals of Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi's one-game suspension and Steelers centre Maurkice Pouncey's three-game ban.
Ogunjobi shoved a helmet-less Rudolph to the ground during the melee while Pouncey punched and kicked Garrett as he lay on the ground.
Neither ruling has been made.
Browns coach Freddie Kitchens would not divulge who from the team accompanied Garrett to his hearing.
"Myles has great representation," Kitchens said. "More importantly, Myles will represent himself well. We're going to continue to support him and Larry and we will not waver with that support."
As Garrett pleaded his case, the Browns are trying to regroup amid the possibility they'll be without their best defensive player for a significant period. Cleveland is still in the playoff race hunt going into Sunday's game against Miami.