CLEVELAND — While the Cleveland Browns have six more regular-season games to prepare for and are concerned with stacking victories to keep their playoff hopes alive, there is a key member of the family that will not be along for the ride.
Pro Bowl defensive end Myles Garrett received an indefinite suspension for his actions in a brawl at the end of a 21-7 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland last Thursday, and after the ban was upheld on appeal, the Browns will be there to support their standout pass rusher in whatever way possible.
“There is no excuse for that to happen on a football field,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said. “I know that, Myles knows that and all of the players in the locker room know that. That is it. There is no excuse, but in saying that, we are going to support Myles Garrett moving forward in any way he needs support.
“I have contacted Myles. We visited on Friday. We visited on Saturday. Myles is a good person, and we are going to support Myles. Myles is part of our family. When we break it down at the end of the day, every day they break it down on family, and Myles is part of that family.”
The incident boiled over when Garrett brought Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph to the ground well after a third-down play with eight seconds remaining in the game.
After the hit, Rudolph appeared to rip off Garrett’s helmet after delivering a couple of kicks below the belt of the Pro Bowl defensive end. Garrett responded by ripping off Rudolph’s helmet with several powerful tugs, and later, swinging it at and connecting to the quarterback’s head when the signal-caller pursued the matter further.
Garrett ended up on the ground after getting tangled up with Steelers offensive lineman David DeCastro, and that is when center Maurkice Pouncey tried to protect his quarterback and delivered several kicks to the helmet and multiple punches to the Browns’ Pro Bowl defensive end.
It was then that Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi escalated further the already volatile situation by pushing Rudolph from behind and to the ground, at which time, players left both benches and a scrum ensued in the end zone that took several minutes to get under control.
“Myles Garrett is a good person,” Kitchens said. “He is a good person. He is a good individual. He does a lot in the community. He is a soft-spoken -- Myles Garrett is a good person, and we are not going to pile on Myles.
“He had a bad lapse in judgement, and that is it. I am still a Myles Garrett fan, and I am still going to support him, our organization is going to support him and his teammates are going to support him, and this coaching staff will support him.”
Supporting Garrett will be a key part of his teammates’ plans away from game preparation because they understand the would-be Defensive Player of the Year candidate feels as though he let down the team with his actions.
“He’s all right, just dealing with it, that’s all,” defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said. “Down on himself for letting the team down. He knows he overreacted a little bit. He was protecting himself and I don’t blame him. Guy keeps rushing him even with a helmet off and he’s asking for it, so I’ll just leave it at that.”