Rudolph was struck in the head with his own helmet by Garrett after the defensive end ripped it off in the final seconds of the Steelers' 21-7 loss. Being hit on your uncovered head by a helmet being swung by a 275 lb DE [defensive end] is not one of them.
The league fined the Browns and the Steelers $250,000 each over the incident as well.
The incident occurred after a hit by Garrett on Rudolph that he took exception to. While on the ground, and tussling on the grass, Garrett wrestled the helmet off of Rudolph's head. Then Garrett pulled Rudolph's lid off, and Rudolph responded by getting into a shoving match with Garrett. Then, Garrett swung the dislodged helmet at Rudolph's unprotected head.
"I want you to really understand that if he had hit him in the crown with the helmet, we would be having a different conversation". "We don't know how long, and that hurts our team". Beckham, perhaps not fully grasping the general outrage at Garrett's actions, mentioned his teammate might "lose a game, maybe two, you never know".
"What I did was foolish, and I shouldn't have allowed myself to slip like that", he said.
"Absolutely. That is embarrassing", Garrett said.
"The next time I see them, I'll address them", he said.
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"I lost my cool, and I regret it", Garrett said.
The NFL said more suspensions will be handed down. The Browns picked off Rudolph twice in the fourth quarter and stepped up to ensure the Browns wouldn't blow a 14-7 lead. While defensive backs must deliver hits at full speed to try and prevent or mitigate big plays on offense, players know not to use the crown of their helmets as weapons.
The Browns had already intercepted Rudolph's passes four times during the game, which was a foregone conclusion before the play that turned into a melee.
"I'm fine", Rudolph said afterward. "He understands what he did, he understands it is totally unacceptable, and we have to get through it".
The longest suspension for an on-field incident in league history is the five games that Albert Hanyesworth got in 2006 for stomping on another player's head.
Going into Thursday night's game, Garrett was leading the AFC in sacks, with 10 quarterback takedowns through the first nine games of the season. "I don't think it's overshadowed by what happened in eight seconds".
Although Garrett has been called for late hits on quarterback this season, this sort of attack was seemingly out of character for someone who is a self-proclaimed pacifist and poet.