Apparently, the NFL believes that six games is a sufficient enough punishment for assaulting somebody with a blunt object. That is the extent of Myles Garrett’s punishment after the NFL announced yesterday the Cleveland Browns defensive end’s appeal for reinstatement was approved, effective immediately.
At the end of the Brown’s 10th game of the season, Garrett, in the words of Andrew Gribble from the team’s own website, “ripped off Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet and hit him over the top of the head with it”. The NFL acted immediately by handing him an indefinite suspension, but he will not miss any time into 2020.
What if the assault had occurred in the 11th game? In the 12th, or the 13th? Would he still have been reinstated? What if it happened in Week One? would he still have been indefinitely suspended through at least the 2019 season? Why does this feel so arbitrary?
The answer is, of course, because it was arbitrary, and as reports for months have suggested, the league was very much hoping that they would be given reason to reinstate Garrett in time for the 2020 season. The former first-overall pick, who early last season also punched a Tennessee Titans player in the facemask after being shoved, is one of the most high-profile players on a team the league hopes is an up-and-comer.
Make no mistake about it, he is actually a fantastic player. He is an elite pass-rusher—even in that game, he was giving Alejandro Villanueva fits despite not registering a sack—but he is also adept against the run, and frankly, it was great from a purely football standpoint that the Steelers were able to get a break from facing him in the rematch game.
Many of the players and most of the coaches and even front office personnel who were with the team last season when this all unfolded are no longer even in the organization, but suffice it to say that they handled the entire situation poorly, culminating in their neophyte head coach being caught wearing a ‘Pittsburgh Started It’ t-shirt, and then doubling down by saying that he would wear it again.
Quite frankly, it will be interesting to see how the Steelers respond to Garrett the next time they see him on the field. Of course, the hope is that Mason Rudolph will be safe and sound in the sideline. Would he have done the same thing had it been Ben Roethlisberger?