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15 Nov, 2019 10:27

'I've never seen that in my life': Cleveland Browns' Myles Garrett smashes Steelers’ Mason Rudolph in head with helmet (VIDEO)

'I've never seen that in my life': Cleveland Browns' Myles Garrett smashes Steelers’ Mason Rudolph in head with helmet (VIDEO)

Players and pundits have reacted with outrage after Myles Garrett ripped off Mason Rudolph’s helmet and smashed it over the back of his head in a shocking attack that could lead to the longest ban given to a player in NFL history

Cleveland Browns defensive end Garrett admits he has "no clue" what punishment he will face for a violent attack that marred the end of his side’s 21-7 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, as the former number-one draft pick ripped off Mason Rudolph's helmet before swinging it into the young quarterback’s head.

With eight seconds of the game left at Cleveland's FirstEnergy Stadium, Garrett lost his head and sparked a brawl after Rudolph took exception to his tackle.

Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, who was also ejected, laid into Garrett, and Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi completed the trio of players given their marching orders, having pushed the quarterback to the ground.

In the aftermath, Pouncey warned that Garrett could have endangered Rudolph’s life – a suggestion echoed by former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson, who told ESPN: "The guy’s helmet is off, you have it in your hand – he has no protection at all.

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"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."

There is no precedent for the sanction the usually mild-mannered 23-year-old, who was the number one pick in the 2017 draft, will incur, although fans and commentators have called for a season-long suspension.

Former Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth holds the record for the longest ban for an on-field incident in NFL history, sitting out a five-game suspension for stamping on Andre Gurode's head when the offensive lineman was with Dallas Cowboys in 2006.

Visibly furious Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens insisted the more physical style of play he has introduced this season, demonstrated in a bad-tempered joint practice with Indianapolis Colts in August, had nothing to do with the ugly scenes that overshadowed his side’s second straight win.

"I’ve never seen that in my life. I’m embarrassed, Myles is embarrassed – he understands what he did, he understands it’s totally unacceptable," seethed Kitchens, who watched Browns end Steelers’ four-game winning streak with a 21-7 victory that was only their fourth win of the season.

"We’ve got five seconds to go in the biggest game that this team’s won. You never beat Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the same year, and then we’ve got to talk about this.

"It’s going to hurt moving forwards. I never ok-ed fights. Did I want them to get after their asses? Yes, I did – but that’s not fighting, that’s not after the whistle."

Speaking calmly after the game, the suited Garrett said he had "fallen into emotions" that were "out of character".

"I lost my cool and I regret it," confessed the Texan.

"It’s going to come back to hurt our team. I appreciate my team having my back but it should never get to that point.

"What I did was foolish and I shouldn’t have allowed myself to slip like that."

Before seeing the replay, Rudolph called Garrett’s actions "pretty cowardly" and "Bush League", adding that the pair "had words" and Garrett "kept on keeping on" before tensions peaked.

"It maybe crossed the line when he took my helmet off and used it as a weapon," the 24-year-old laughed gingerly.

"I don’t know what the rules are. It’s totally cowardly on his part.

"It’s okay, though – I’ll take it, I’m not going to back down from any bully out there. We’ll see what happens. There’s plenty of film out there to watch it.

"I feel like I had a bone to pick with him after what he did. I appreciate the line always having my back and putting it to bed but I was angry – human."

Garrett admits the ensuing uproar will make for even greater hostility when Steelers and Browns meet again on December 1, although a long-term suspension could rule him out of the return.

"There will be a little bit more animosity," he said.

"I don’t know if you can call it hatred but how will they feel about what happened?

"It was an accident but they’re going to feel something, either way. It was foolish on both parts."

Garrett has already been punished twice this season, receiving a $10,527 fine for an excessive facemask penalty in week one against the Tennessee Titans and a $42,112 penalty for a roughing-the-passer penalty that ended New York Jets quarterback Trevor Siemian’s season a week later.

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