Myles Garrett’s appeal focuses on 2013 helmet-swinging case

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Browns defensive end Myles Garrett hopes to reduce his indefinite suspension (with a minimum of all remaining 2019 games) for hitting Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with his own helmet. To support Garrett’s position, the NFL Players Association pointed to a past punishment for a helmet-swinging incident.

According to Dan Graziano of, Garrett’s appeal pointed out that the worst punishment for a similar incident was imposed on former Texans defensive lineman Antonio Smith. The league suspended Smith for two preseason games and one regular-season game for swinging his helmet at then-Dolphins guard Richie Incognito.

Here’s the biggest problem with that comparison, a simple fact omitted from the report: Smith didn’t strike Incognito with his own helmet.

Swinging a helmet and not making contract is a far cry from a windmill-cranking thud atop an unprotected skull. Indeed, the fact that Smith received such a stiff punishment without making contact with the helmet highlights the significance of swinging a helmet and making contact with the head that was hearing the helmet.

As expected, Garrett’s appeal also included an argument that the rules don’t permit an indefinite suspension for on-field misconduct. If hearing officer James Thrash decides that the league should re-do the suspension and impose a definite number, Garrett may not like the end result.

26 responses to “Myles Garrett’s appeal focuses on 2013 helmet-swinging case

  1. Not by any means diminishing what Garrett did but 6 games or 60 a suspension for an on field action requires no investigation and therefore should have a definitive end. Players aren’t paid while suspended and the man deserves to know when he can next expect to get paid

  2. I disagree. Suspensions are supposed to control behavior. When you base suspensions on “damage done” and not “intent”, you don’t truly condemn the intent, as you absolutely should.

    Garrett is saying they are doing a lot to him because they didn’t do a lot to Smith. Truth is, he is merely pointing out the mistake the NFL made back then, and the NFL should admit they made a mistake back then by not suspending that guy longer.

  3. On the field or off, that was the act of a lunatic… borderline attempted murder. He should sit a long, long, LONG time.

  4. Let’s be real. He’s getting punished as much for making the League look bad on a National TV game than because of the helmet swing. If he’d done it on Sunday and during the Browns’ 0-16 year he’d be getting 3-5 games. Just like all the rest of the guys who have done it.

    But go on, run a good kid out of the League. I am sure it will improve all your lives and you can all go back to supporting a game that lets rapists and abusers continue to play.

  5. This is an easy one ,he should be banned from the NFL forever,he could have seriously injured Mason if not cracked his skull then what

    With that logic, Mason should be banned forever too. He could have seriously damaged ‘something’ with his kick.

  6. Albert Haynesworth did make contact with the opponent’s head (with a piece of equipment) in an unprovoked attack and got 5 games. Here, Rudolph tried to go after Garrett first, so 5 game should be the upper limit of a suspension.

  7. This guy shows no accountability as he tried and could have caused major damage to a fellow NFL player.

  8. Interesting logic….the only thing the two incidents have in common is he swung a helmet (his own) at another player. They should give him an extra four games for using that as a basis for his appeal. #clueless

  9. 2013 was a long time ago. Media hysteria has escalated 10 fold since then. A lifetime ban seems about right now.

  10. I have watched the video of the Smith/Incognito incident, and I still think he connected with that helmet. Incognito’s head snaps around exactly as it would from a blow. (Now, it it is possible Incognito’s brain is so scrambled he didn’t realize he’d been hit.) But to me it looks like Smith ripped off his helmet and belted him with it.
    Biggest difference I see is the camera angles are much better on the Garret/Rudolph fight – he’s the QB and in the middle of the field of view; Smith and Incognito were away from the main action of the play.

  11. The “he could have killed him” card being played a lot. Rodolph could have broke Garrett’s neck but neither of that happened. Give Garrett what is deserved which is a 4 game suspension and stop fooling ourselves that fines and suspensions are going to eliminate in the heat of the moment fights. Its just not going to happen.

  12. Just to be clear. Smith ripped off Incognito’s helmet and swung it at him. The difference between that incident and this is that Smith may not have struck Incognito. It’s hard to tell from the tape. Either way you have an assault. Also, nothing wrong with Garrett citing this as precedent. In fact, Garrett could argue that the Smith incident is more egregious because (1) Smith wasn’t being threatened/pursued by four opposing players when he swung and (2) Incognito didn’t first try to rip off Smith’s helmet, nor did he kick him in the groin twice.

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