Myles Garrett Needs Lengthy Suspension For Helmet Swing
CLEVELAND, Ohio – A suspension for Myles Garrett is completely warranted.
First, a quick rewind.
It’s the oldest rivalry in the AFC, a matchup that has been played since 1950 with 135 total meetings.
The 135th meeting between the Steelers and Browns on Thursday night not only saw a nine game winless streak come to an end for the Browns, but it also showed us a rarely seen ugly side of professional football.
In the 13 years I covered the NFL in Colorado I saw my share of on-field scuffles and fights. But never have I seen anything quite like what happened with just eight seconds left on the clock in Cleveland.
With Cleveland’s win in the bag, Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett turned the all-but-dead intensity level from a zero all the way up to 11.
Garrett pulled Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph off the ground by his facemask then proceeded to rip the helmet off and use it as a weapon to hit Rudolph in the head. Things escalated from there with several players pushing, shoving, punching, kicking and losing all sense of self control and better judgement in a matter of seconds.
While the NFL has a lot to think about as fines and suspension are certainly going to be handed out, I also had some time to think and was reminded of one of the more memorable on-field scuffles I have ever seen in the NFL.
Talib vs. Crabtree
I was at Mile High Stadium in Denver when the Broncos were hosting their bitter rivals the Oakland Raiders on New Year’s Day in 2017. The Broncos were set to miss the playoffs just one season after winning Super Bowl 50 but a win would secure a winning record and give all the “Raider Haters” in Denver bragging rights until the next season.
Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib wasted no time in heating up the rivalry on the field.
In the first quarter Talib broke up a pass down the sidelines while covering Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Crabtree got up, words were exchanged and before we all knew it Talib reached up and ripped Crabtree’s gold chain from right off his neck.
Talib told media after the game that Crabtree’s chain had been “growing on me” and he told the Raiders wideout that if he wore the chain in front of him he would “snatch it off.”
Talib was seen on the sidelines later in the game joking about it and mimicking the act of ripping the chain off.
Round two came the following season, just ten months later. This time the venue was at the “Black Hole” in Oakland and once again the incident took place early in the first quarter.
Crabtree was blocking Talib and continued to push him out of bounds and to the ground. That’s when Talib reached for Crabtree’s chain again and ripped it from his neck. This time a brawl began, Crabtree and Talib both threw some punches and were ejected from the game.
Retaliation Doesn’t Help Anyone
I love rivalries and incidents like these only add to the passion and intensity both on the field and in the stands. But what happened on Thursday night in Cleveland went too far.
We don’t know what was said between the two players before the helmet was ripped off. You can even see Mason Rudolph holding Garrett’s facemask before he was pulled off the ground. But like I always say to my kids, it’s never OK for someone to bully you, but it’s even worse to retaliate. That’s when you get even longer timeouts.
Garrett retaliated on Thursday night and now he’s going to be getting a very long timeout.
Tisk tisk, Mr. Garrett.
UPDATE: Garrett was suspended without pay for the remainder of the 2019 season, including the postseason, on Friday morning. He also must meet with the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell if he returns to the field.