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Cleveland coach Freddie Kitchens said Monday that the Browns will continue to support suspended defensive end Myles Garrett while also not excusing Garrett for his actions Thursday against Pittsburgh.
“Myles Garrett’s a good person,” Kitchens said. “We’re not going to pile on Myles. He had a bad lapse in judgment and that’s it. I’m still a Myles fan and I’m going to support him. Our organization is going to support him, his teammates, coaching staff will support him.”
The NFL suspended Garrett indefinitely, including for the rest of this season and any playoff games, for ripping the helmet off quarterback Mason Rudolph and clubbing him in the head with it in the final seconds of the game.
“There’s no excuse for that to happen on a football field,” Kitchens said. “I know that. Myles knows that. All the players in the locker room know that. That’s it. There’s no excuse. But, in saying that, we’re going to support Myles Garrett going forward in any way that he needs support.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Garrett’s appeal of his indefinite suspension will be heard Wednesday morning by appeals officer James Thrash, and that Garrett will attend to state his case in person. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the Browns are hopeful that what led Garrett to anger, notably whether Rudolph connected with Garrett in the groin, will help Garrett’s appeal.
Kitchens declined to offer his opinion on the specifics of what happened between Garrett and Rudolph, only saying, “You all saw the tape.”
Browns defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, however, countered Monday that Garrett was “defending himself” from Rudolph.
“Of course he was,” Richardson said. “If a guy scratching at your face, what you going to? The helmet is overboard, let’s get that clear. But defending yourself, I don’t blame him for defending [himself] at all.”
Richardson said Rudolph should’ve been suspended at least one game for his role in the incident.
“You can’t antagonize a fight and then claim bullying. … you get what’s coming to you,” Richardson said. “Of course Myles overreacted. … He was protecting himself. I don’t blame him. Guy keeps rushing me, even with the helmet off, he’s asking for it. Just leave it at that.”
League sources told Schefter over the weekend that the NFL will be issuing mass fines to about 10 players for leaving the bench area and running onto the field. Rudolph, who was not suspended for his role in the fight, is expected to be fined. The fine schedule calls for a player to be fined $35,096 for a first-time fighting offense.
The NFL also suspended Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi for one game for shoving Rudolph in the back and to the ground, shortly after Garrett struck the Steelers quarterback with the helmet. Ogunjobi’s appeal was being heard Monday. Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey, who jumped into Garrett, kicking and punching him after Rudolph had been struck, was suspended for three games.