CLEVELAND (AP)Myles Garrett is explaining why he lost his composure on the field.
The Cleveland Browns star defensive end is in New York for an appeals hearing to try to get the NFL to reduce an indefinite suspension that has temporarily ended Garrett’s season and tarnished his career.
Garrett was banned last week for the rest of the regular season and playoffs for striking Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with a helmet. Garrett appealed the decision and his case is being heard by league-appointed officer James Thrash, a former NFL player, who will either lessen the penalty or put a definitive number of games on it.
Garrett tore off Rudolph’s helmet with eight seconds left in Thursday’s game, swung it and connected with the QB’s head. Rudolph avoided injury and was not suspended despite trying to pull off Garrett’s helmet and charging at him.
Rudolph, who will likely be fined for his involvement, said he doesn’t begrudge Garrett.
”I have no ill will toward Myles Garrett, great respect for his ability as a player and I know if Myles could go back he would handle the situation differently,” Rudolph told reporters Wednesday in Pittsburgh. ”As for my involvement last week, there is no acceptable excuse. The bottom line is I should have done a better job keeping my composure in that situation. It falls short of what I believe it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and a member of the NFL.”
As Garrett pleads his case, the Browns are trying to regroup amid the possibility they’ll be without their best defensive player for a significant period.
The Browns also are missing defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, who was suspended one game for shoving Rudolph to the ground. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was suspended three games for punching and kicking Garrett.
Browns coach Freddie Kitchens would not divulge who from the team accompanied Garrett to the hearing.
”Myles has great representation,” Kitchens said. ”More importantly, Myles will represent himself well. We’re going to continue to support him and Larry and we will not waver with that support.”
Ogunjobi and Pouncey had their appeals heard earlier this week by Thrash and Derrick Brooks, a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
On Tuesday, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin called the incident involving Garrett ”ugly for the game of football” but said there was nothing teachable to come from it because ”I don’t know that we did anything to make it happen in the first place.”
Kitchens hopes the experience will serve as a reminder for his team to stay composed.
”We talk all the time about being the smartest, toughest football team and sometimes one of those things don’t happen and you decrease your chances of winning and you decrease your chances of being successful and we want to add both of those to the mix, not one without the other,” he said. ”So you have to be both. That’s a continual conversation topic and will always be discussed.”
AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.
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