Myles Garrett’s punishment for TNF’s helmet incident is well-deserved

John Walker, Life & Arts Editor

“That’s one of the worst things I’ve ever seen on a professional sports field,” said Joe Buck during a broadcast of a recent Thursday Night Football game. He was referencing Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett taking Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet and hitting him over the head with it. 

I would have to agree with Buck and his assessment of what took place with eight seconds left in the game and the Browns leading the Steelers 21-7. Garrett’s hit has to be one of the dirtiest, most deplorable things I have ever seen in a professional football game. 

Garrett was ejected for the hit, but so was Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey and Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi for their involvement. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Garrett’s suspension will last at least through the rest of the season, including the playoffs (if Cleveland makes it there). Ogunjobi is suspended for one game and Pouncy for three. 

If I were the NFL, I would be considering a full-season suspension next year and a possible ban, kicking him out of the league altogether. 

What took place on Thursday night has no place in football or any sport for that matter. It should not have happened, period. Garrett did not ove tap him on the head or throw the helmet into his chest. Garrett took a full-on swing with the intent to do harm. It could be (and should be) considered assault with a deadly weapon when the NFL sits down to review when or if Garrett returns next season. 

The hit was extremely unnecessary. The Browns were winning with eight seconds left in the game, and it wasn’t a close game at this point either. They had a 14 point lead, the ball was on the Steelers’ 17-yard line and it was third and long. If everything had gone as usual, the play would have resulted in a fourth and eight on the Steelers’ 28-yard line, bringing out the punt team to end the game.  

Why should Garrett be the only one to receive a hefty suspension and disciplinary action? Garrett’s actions were unnecessary and reprehensible. Pouncey’s actions, however, were justified.  As a defensive lineman, you do not pull the quarterback down once the ball is out of his hands. Garret doing so is what sparked the confrontation and lead to this series of rather unfortunate events. 

As an offensive lineman, you protect your quarterback at all costs. Pouncey was doing his job. His quarterback took a nasty blow to the head from Garrett and backed his guy up. Pouncey was trying to pull Garrett off of Rudolph. Garrett’s hit on Rudolph with the helmet caused the confrontation to spiral out of control.

While also unnecessary, I don’t think that Ogunjobi’s actions were exceptionally bad nor deserving of an ejection. Ogunjobi’s ejection was mostly to get all involved off the field for the remaining eight seconds to control the game. I think the NFL should have suspended both him and Pouncey for one game. Pouncey’s reaction was to be expected and not over-the-top for what had just transpired. 

What happened was an unfortunate ending to a rather great game for Cleveland, especially the defense. Rodolph was sacked and intercepted four times and the Steelers were held to only a touchdown and 58 rushing yards. 

What’s even worse is that Troy Akeman was ready to give Garrett the AFC Defensive Player of the Week Award. Instead, Garrett will most likely receive a sizable suspension and disciplinary action from the NFL.