On Wednesday, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett and NFL Players Association made his case to hearing officer James Thrash. On Thursday, a decision is expected.
A source with knowledge of the situation confirms that Garrett’s case hinges on a comparison to the Antonio Smith helmet-swinging (but not connecting) incident of 2013. The league suspended Smith for two preseason games and one regular-season game for that infraction.
Garrett also argues that an indefinite suspension is not permitted for on-field misconduct. Per the source, Garrett’s camp has argued that the league’s inability to impose an indefinite suspension should cap the ban at six regular-season games plus any 2019 postseason games for which the Browns qualify. If, in contrast, the league gets another bite at the suspension apple with the directive that it be specific and definite, the league could in theory impose a much longer suspension.
If Garrett emerges with six or fewer games, that should be regarded as a big win for him, but also a significant loss for the game. No player ever should swing a helmet and strike an opponent; it never should have happened the first time, and the end result in Garrett’s case must ensure that it will never happen again. Six or fewer games may not be enough to do that.