Myles Garrett could have a record-setting punishment headed his way for his helmet-swinging incident at the end of the Cleveland Browns win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football — including possible criminal charges.
The Browns defensive end was in the middle of an ugly brawl that erupted with just seconds remaining in the game, as he tangled with Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and ripped Rudolph’s helmet off his head before swinging it — and connecting — to the quarterback’s head. Garrett was ejected from the game, but ESPN‘s Kevin Seifert believes there could be a much bigger punishment ahead for Garrett.
Seifert wrote that Garrett’s attack on Rudolph has few precedents in NFL history, and believes his punishment should exceed the year-long ban handed to Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict earlier this season after a series of helmet-to-helmet hits. In fact, Seifert believed that because Garrett’s hit came “after the whistle, outside of any semblance of competition,” that he could likely face the biggest suspension in NFL history.
Others agreed that Garrett could be facing record-setting discipline from the league. The Athletic’s Connor Hughes wrote on Twitter that Garrett’s suspension should start at 16 games, and that a lifetime ban would not be out of the question.
It’s not just league discipline that Garrett could be facing. In the immediate aftermath of the brawl, ESPN Cleveland producer Matt Fontana reported on Twitter that Cleveland police were seen in the Browns locker room after the game. It was not clear if police were in the locker room as part of an investigation, but some speculated that Garrett could face a criminal investigation and possible charges for the attack on Rudolph.
Miles Garrett should get charged with assault. Period
— Paul Lo Duca (@paulloduca16) November 15, 2019
That’s assault, Myles Garrett should not play another game this season. pic.twitter.com/rH4ko6lAdV
— Maximiliano Bretos (@MaxBretosSports) November 15, 2019
While unusual, it would not be unprecedented for an athlete to face potential charges for an attack that took place during a game. In 2000, Boston Bruins defenseman Marty McSorley was charged with assault for hitting Vancouver Canucks forward Donald Brashear in the head with his stick.
The NFL hands out lengthy suspensions for weed like candy. If Myles Garrett doesn’t sit the rest of this year and at least most of next, the NFL failed. That’s the kind of act that should could legitimately end up on a police report.
— Dustin McComas (@DMcComasOB) November 15, 2019
The incident marred an otherwise important win as the Browns moved to 4-6 and climbed back into the playoff hunt, and Garrett’s upcoming suspension will be a major blow to the team’s playoff hopes the rest of the way. Garrett does not seem to have the support of his teammates as he faces that discipline, with several Browns players speaking out against his attack, including quarterback Baker Mayfield, who bemoaned the effect his loss will have on the team.