A melee between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers late in their game Thursday night led to three drafts and requires N.F.L. to shut down Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who pulled off the helm of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and then swung it against his head.
After the game, Garrett's own quarterback, Baker Mayfield, called the attack "unforgivable" and said of Garrett, "The reality is that he will be suspended."
The fight started with eight seconds left in Cleveland's 21
Other players began to separate the two, but Garrett reached over them and grabbed Rudolph's face mask, and went forward until the helmet came off. Rudolph chased after Garrett, who then swung his helmet and made contact with the quarterback's head.
"I thought it was pretty cowardly, pretty bushy," Rudolph said later.
Garrett told reporters after the match that he regretted his behavior.
"I made a mistake and lost my fun," he said, adding, "What I did was stupid, and I shouldn't have allowed myself to slip like that. It was by nature."
Within seconds the helmet attack poured players from both benches onto the pitch. Not long after that, Twitter thought of agitation, some of it from NFL players, past and present.
"He's done the rest of the year," wrote Dez Bryant, a wide receiver who is currently a free agent.
Reggie Bush, the former running back, wrote: "All my life in football that may have been the craziest I've seen on a football field!" He also predicted that Garrett would be turned off for 30 years, adding: "Hatred to see that in our game that's not what pro football is all about! "
In an on-site interview immediately after the game, Mayfield said that the passion for the Browns-Steelers rivalry did not justify a player who lost control as Garrett did. "I don't care, rivalry or not, we can't do that," Mayfield told Erin Andrews of Fox Sports. He added: "To jeopardize the other team, it's unforgivable. He knows it. I hope he does now. "
The battle resulted in the expulsion of Garrett; Brown's defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, who hit Rudolph in the ground after the quarterback reacted to the helmet swinging against him; and Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, who punched and kicked Garrett after swinging his helmet.
Garrett, who was fined $ 52,639 for three personal offenses during the first month of this season, can expect a strong response from N.F.L. At the beginning of the year, the league suspended Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict for the remaining 12 games of the season due to a deliberate hit on another player's helmet and because Burfict had repeatedly delivered illegal hits despite being fined and suspended for previous offenses.
said he would talk to his teammates on Friday. “I will address them all. I hurt my entire team, "he said, adding," I don't know what consequences I will face. "
Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said he was embarrassed by the incident and couldn't predict what punishment the league could provide
" We have to take what they have to give, "he said. “I've never seen it in my life. We wait and see. Myles is very upset about it. "
Rudolph said after the game that he did not feel any bad effects from the helmet hitting him. But he was stunned by Garrett's behavior.
"Where did it cross the line?" Said Rudolph. "Maybe when he took off my helmet and used it as a weapon."