Cleveland Brown star Myles Garrett has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL for ripping off Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph's helmet and striking him on the head during the final seconds of Thursday Night Football. Garrett will be suspended at least through the regular season and postseason for his actions, the league said in a statement Friday.
The NFL said Garrett, who was fined an undisclosed amount of money, "violated unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules, as well as fighting, removing the helmet of an opponent, and using the helmet as a weapon."
The brawl unfolded in the final moments of the Browns 21-7 win over the Steelers. Garrett tackled Rudolph to the ground after a short pass and both players pulled at each other's helmets. Garrett ripped off Rudolph's helmet and swung it, connecting on the top of the quarterback's head.
Steelers guard David DeCastro threw Garrett to the ground as Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey punched and kicked Garrett. Players from both teams cleared the sidelines, with some players attempting to break up the fight.
Garrett issued a statement Friday apologizing for the violent incident. "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," he added.
The league also suspended the Browns' Larry Ogunjobi and the Steelers' Maurkice Pouncey for their role in the brawl that ensued. All three players were suspended without pay and both teams were fined $250,000 for the incident.
"Additional discipline for other players will be forthcoming through the standard accountability process, including those players that left the bench to enter the fight area," the statement said.
Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam issued a statement Friday saying they were "extremely disappointed in what transpired" at the end of the 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," the statement said. "We understand the consequences from the league for his actions."
Cleveland police said no criminal charges have been filed against Garrett, CBS affiliate WOIO-TV reported Friday. According to a police spokesperson, Rudolph did not file a police report against Garrett for the incident.
His agent, Tim Younger, told ESPN he wasn't ruling out any legal options. "I am gathering all information and no options have been removed from the table," he told the network.
Back in 2006, Tennessee Titan's defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was suspended for five games after stomping on Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode's head — it was the longest punishment for on-field behavior in league history.
The Steelers and Browns will face each other at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field on December 10.