After taking Mason Rudolph’s helmet off and hitting him on the head with it, Garrett has been suspended indefinitely. (Courtesy of Erik Drost)
After taking Mason Rudolph’s helmet off and hitting him on the head with it, Garrett has been suspended indefinitely.

Courtesy of Erik Drost

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

“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.

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Mason Rudolph’s lack of professionalism, actions warrant immediate suspension

Last weekend, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh praised sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson for his outstanding performance on the field. Video footage of a sideline conversation between Harbaugh and Jackson reveals Harbaugh addressing Jackson by saying, “You changed the game, man. You know how many kids are going to be wearing No. 8 playing quarterback?”

If Jackson brought glory to the quarterback position, Mason Rudolph disgraced the quarterback position with his cowardly, immature and selfish behavior.

Yes, Myles Garrett has been suspended indefinitely. There is no place for such heinous actions in the NFL, or any professional sports league. Put aside Garrett’s actions for a bit and see the bigger picture.

There are two things that are inevitable as an NFL quarterback: you’re going to get sacked and you’re going to get intercepted. It’s part of the game. Every great quarterback has endured these circumstances. However, you know what isn’t part of the game? Trying to rip a defender’s helmet off and kicking him in the groin after he sacks you. 

Last Thursday, during the Pittsburgh Steelers’ final possession of the fourth quarter, Garrett sacked Rudolph. As Garrett’s 270 pound body laid on top of the Steelers’s quarterback, a visibly frustrated Rudolph tried to rip off the Browns defensive end’s helmet.

Rudolph failed. What he did next was immature, dirty and, quite frankly, stupid. As Rudolph lay on the floor, he kicked Garrett in the groin area. 

As Steelers’ center Maurkice Pouncey dragged Garrett to his feet, Rudolph pursued Garrett and punched him in the groin area. 

In my best Stephen A. Smith voice: “Mason Rudolph, what on Earth are you doing fighting a man that is approximately twice your size? Don’t you know what that little skirmish could have led to? Brother, this isn’t college anymore. That tough guy act could have taken your life.” 

Why did Rudolph resort to such actions?

Rudolph is immature. Rudolph failed miserably and was embarrassed by the Browns’ defense on national television. The rookie quarterback threw four costly interceptions and his offense was held to seven points — a terrible offensive night.

Failure is a part of sports. It is bound to happen. It is how a player reacts to failure that determines their resilience and mental toughness. Yet, Rudolph crumbled under the bright lights. He decided to take out his frustration on Garrett.

Rudolph is a coward. During a football game, adrenaline is high, emotions run deep and the competition is intense. But under no circumstances, even outside of the gridiron, is it okay for a man to kick another man in the groin area during a fight.

Yes, Garrett is twice the size of Rudolph. If Rudolph wished to fight Garrett, which wouldn’t have been a smart choice, he should have fought him like a man without any cheap shots.

At 5-5, the Steelers are in second place in the AFC North and still in the hunt for the AFC playoffs. After Rudolph, the Steelers don’t have much depth at quarterback. The Steelers have already lost starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to injury for the season. 

Rudolph put the Steelers’ season in jeopardy when he decided to pursue Garrett. Sorry Steelers fans, but your playoff hopes would have vanished if Rudolph was injured. If anything, Steeler Nation should be frustrated at Rudolph for exposing himself to severe injury.

When did we ever see Peyton Manning grab a defender’s mask after being sacked? Never. Former Colts quarterback Andrew Luck even congratulated defensive players when they sacked him. 

When has the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, punched and kicked a defender in the groin for sacking him? Never.

Rudolph’s immature actions are uncharacteristic of an NFL starting quarterback. How many kids playing quarterback around America will now think that it’s okay to kick a defensive player in the groin after a sack?

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