- Although Myles Garrett‘s appeal will take place Wednesday, the odds the Browns defensive end plays again this season appear slim. “He will not play the rest of the season,” Roger Goodell told OTG’s Gary Myers (via Pro Football Talk). “He will probably meet with us some time in the offseason. We’ll make a judgement. … Does he have remorse? Does he understand why it’s not acceptable? Do we understand what he’s going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?” Garrett is suspended indefinitely for striking Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with a helmet.
- Prior to the AFC North rivals’ game-ending fight, the Steelers saw wideouts JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson suffer concussions. In addition to the head injury Smith-Schuster sustained, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter) the third-year receiver also sustained a knee injury on the play that ended his night. Smith-Schuster has not missed a game this season but he’s uncertain for Pittsburgh’s Week 12 tilt against Cincinnati.
NOV. 18: Per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, Ogunjobi’s appeal will be heard Monday, and Pouncey’s appeal will be heard Tuesday. Schefter says that Garrett’s appeal will be heard on Wednesday (Twitter link). Schefter notes in a separate tweet that Garrett intends to be at the hearing to state his case in person.
In case you haven’t heard, Garrett was the central figure in a horrific melee that broke out in the final moments of Thursday night’s contest between the Steelers and Browns. While both fanbases certainly have their own perspective on the matter, it’s clear that Garrett unnecessarily drove Steelers QB Mason Rudolph into the ground after Rudolph released a pass. The play could have been flagged — and may have been if the game were in doubt at that point or if there were more then eight seconds left — and Rudolph took exception to it.
Rudolph grabbed at Garrett’s helmet and kicked out at him, which caused Garrett to escalate the scuffle beyond what anyone could have reasonably expected, yanking Rudolph’s helmet off of him and striking him over the head with it. That naturally led to a scrum between both clubs that saw Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey (three games) and Browns defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi (one game) receive suspensions. Rudolph, Pouncey, and Ogunjobi were all fined, and obviously Garrett will be fined as well.
As Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes, more fines will be coming for Rudolph and others. While NFL head of football operations Troy Vincent and his team initially reviewed the footage of the brawl with a focus on who committed offenses worthy of a suspension, they will now comb through the tape to determine the full amount of fines (and what other players may deserve them). Vincent says there will certainly be another wave of fines on the way, and both the Steelers and Browns have been hit with $250K sanctions.
Adam Schefter of ESPN.com says the appeals for Garrett, Pouncey, and Ogunjobi will be heard on Monday and Tuesday by jointly-appointed officers Derrick Brooks and James Thrash. The rulings are expected no later than Wednesday. Schefter adds in a separate report that at least 10 players will be fined, and that the announcement will be issued next weekend.
Per Rapoport, Garrett’s camp will argue that the CBA does not allow for indefinite suspensions for on-field acts and that the league should impose a ban for a finite number of games.
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Prior to Thursday night’s ugly conclusion in Cleveland, the Steelers lost multiple wide receivers to injuries. They will respond by adding wideout Deon Cain from the Colts’ practice squad, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson — Pittsburgh’s Nos. 1-2 wideouts this season — suffered concussions during the Week 11 loss to the Browns. The Steelers will add Cain, whom the Colts recently viewed as a player who could be a reliable target.
The Colts cut Cain last week but were able to pass him through waivers and onto their practice squad. They opted not to promote him again and will see him head to Pittsburgh. Indianapolis drafted Cain in the sixth round out of Clemson in 2018 and were pleased with his early development, but an ACL tear during his initial training camp threw that development off course. This season, Cain could not gain a foothold in Indianapolis’ depleted receiving corps, catching just four passes for 52 yards in seven games.
Down James Conner again, the Steelers also signed running back Kerrith Whyte Jr. off the Bears’ practice squad. Chicago drafted White in the seventh round this year. They will make room for these additions with cuts of edge defender Jayrone Elliott and running back Tony Brooks-James.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- The fallout from the Browns/Steelers brawl isn’t going to get any crazier than it already is. Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph will not take legal action against Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapoport writes that “Rudolph considers the situation to be exclusively an NFL matter.” The fact that it was even a consideration underscores just how wild last night’s events were. Rudolph’s agent had even intimated on Twitter that they were seriously considering pursuing a lawsuit or prosecution. In case you somehow missed it, Garrett has been suspended indefinitely, while Maurkice Pouncey got a three-game ban and Rudolph was fined.
More fallout from the Browns/Steelers brawl, as Myles Garrett and Cleveland owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam have both issued statements via the team’s official site. “We are extremely disappointed in what transpired last evening at the end of our game. There is no place for that in football and that is not reflective of the core values we strive for as an organization. We sincerely apologize to Mason Rudolph and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Myles Garrett has been a good teammate and member of our organization and community for the last three years but his actions last night were completely unacceptable. We understand the consequences from the league for his actions,” the Haslams said.
Garrett’s statement read “last night, I made a terrible mistake. I lost my cool and what I did was selfish and unacceptable. I know that we are all responsible for our actions and I can only prove my true character through my actions moving forward. I want to apologize to Mason Rudolph, my teammates, our entire organization, our fans and to the NFL. I know I have to be accountable for what happened, learn from my mistake and I fully intend to do so.”
Here’s some more on the situation:
- Maurkice Pouncey, suspended three games for pummeling Garrett after he hit Rudolph with his helmet, is going to appeal his suspension, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). The Steelers play the Browns again in two weeks and the league almost certainly wants to keep him out of that game, but maybe he’ll be able to get his suspension reduced from three to two games. Pouncey is a key member of the offensive line, and the seven-time Pro Bowler will be sorely missed as long as he’s not manning the pivot.
- Rudolph may have escaped without a suspension, but he isn’t being held totally blameless by the league office. The quarterback will indeed be fined for his role in the fight, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). Considering many felt Rudolph should’ve been suspended for initially tugging at Garrett’s helmet and then charging him, he dodged a bullet. Given he threw four interceptions in the game last night, a fine is the least of his worries right now.
If you’ve missed the latest Thursday-night game, injuries have limited the Steelers. Pittsburgh lost JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner; the former suffered a concussion and the latter re-injured the AC joint that sidelined him for the past two games. Both are out for the rest of the Browns game, as are cornerback Artie Burns and wideout Diontae Johnson (due to a knee injury and a concussion, respectively). This is Smith-Schuster’s third known concussion since coming into the league. He suffered two as a rookie in 2017.
Here is the latest from the North divisions:
- Both of the Browns‘ starting safeties are out of tonight’s game. Shortly before Damarious Randall was ejected for a helmet-to-helmet hit, the Browns lost Morgan Burnett. The ex-Packers and Steelers defender suffered what the Browns fear is a significant Achilles injury, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). After being relegated to a part-time role in his one Pittsburgh season, Burnett has been a full-time starter in Cleveland.
- The NFL is looking into the Lions‘ handling of Matthew Stafford‘s back injury, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com notes. Multiple Lions players were informed Saturday that Stafford would not play, but Detroit had called the quarterback a game-time decision. Stafford has been playing through back pain all season. The league requires teams to update their injury reports if it has been decided, prior to a team’s stadium arrival, a player will not play.
- With Michael Pierce battling an injury, the Ravens bolstered their defensive tackle corps with two veterans — Domata Peko and Justin Ellis.
Today’s practice squad moves:
- Signed: OL Dino Boyd, LB James Vaughters
- Signed: S Tyvis Powell
- Signed: RB Darius Jackson
- Placed on injured list: RB Bruce Anderson
Los Angeles Rams
- Signed: C Nate Trewyn
- Signed: LB Jake Carlock
- Released: DB Doug Middleton
- Signed: WR Davion Davis
More good news for the surging Steelers. After winning four in a row, Pittsburgh is firmly in the AFC playoff picture, and as Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com writes, the club is expected to have starting running back James Conner back on the field for Thursday night’s matchup against the division-rival Browns.
Conner has missed the past two games with a shoulder injury, and the Steelers’ rushing attack has suffered as a result. The team averaged 1.6 yards per carry against the Rams on Sunday and just 3.6 yards per carry against the Colts the week before. While Pittsburgh won both contests — largely as a result of its play-making defense — it clearly needs a strong run game to support young QB Mason Rudolph.
Conner himself has struggled to get untracked this year, as he is averaging under four yards per tote, but he did post 23 carries for 145 yards and a score in the Steeler’s win over the Dolphins in Week 8 before suffering the shoulder injury. He is also a useful receiving weapon and represents a clear upgrade over the likes of Jaylen Samuels and Trey Edmunds.
As Pryor notes, Conner is not fully healed, but he expects that he will be able to manage his pain well enough to handle a full workload. “I’m making a lot of progress on it, and I think I’ll be good to go [on Thursday],” Conner said. “I can’t make no guarantees, but as of right now, I’m feeling very good and things are feeling very confident for me playing on Thursday.”
The team announced that it released RB Darrin Hall from its practice squad, which is another indication that Conner will play on Thursday. To replace Hall, the Steelers added LB Sutton Smith to the taxi squad.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.