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Myles Garrett suspension for Steelers-Browns fight

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On Thursday night, Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett committed the closest thing we’ve seen to an on-field crime in the modern era of pro football. Only one response will suffice. The NFL must issue the longest suspension for a single on-field act in its history, ending Garrett’s 2019 season with six games remaining in the Browns’ schedule and making clear to the world that what happened at FirstEnergy Stadium is one of the worst moments on the field in its history.

Such discipline, as harsh as it might seem, won’t be particularly controversial to anyone who saw Garrett rip off Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph‘s helmet and then use it to pummel his unprotected head. If Garrett hit someone with a helmet on the streets of Cleveland, he would face arrest. The outburst left grizzled football veterans gasping at its sheer violence, a throwback matched by only a handful — if any — of intentional acts in 100 years of league play.

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Myles Garrett hits Mason Rudolph in the head with a helmet as a fight breaks out at the end of the Steelers-Browns game.

The length of Garrett’s absence shouldn’t be too tough for the NFL to figure out. It suspended Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict indefinitely earlier this season for an accumulation of on-field acts, culminating with a helmet-to-helmet hit, but the longest suspension it has issued for a single on-field incident is five games. That happened in 2006, when then-Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth ripped the helmet off Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode and then kicked and stomped on his face. Gurode needed 30 stitches to close the wounds.

Only the grace of God saved Rudolph from a similar fate, or worse. The stunned expression on the face of Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, speaking moments later in an interview on Fox, depicted the weight of the scene. Mayfield couldn’t summon an ounce of defense for his teammate.

“It’s inexcusable,” he said. “That’s just endangering the other team. … The reality is he is going to get suspended. We don’t know how long, and that hurts our team.”

Don’t forget that Rudolph was knocked unconscious last month by a hit to his helmet and missed one game. The contact from that blow, initiated by Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas, was so severe that Rudolph’s eyes were closed before he hit the ground. If you knew that context, you were surely cringing as you saw Garrett bash Rudolph’s head, topped off by Browns defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi pushing him to the ground from behind. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey then entered the fray, kicking and punching Garrett and escalating the scene to a point where it wouldn’t have been surprising to see police officers on the field.



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Cowboys’ Jerry Jones cut off during radio interview for cursing twice

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A day after the Dallas Cowboys lost their third straight game, a testy Jerry Jones addressed the team’s issues in a radio interview Friday that was cut off midway after he cursed twice.

Jones told 105.3 The Fan in Dallas that he deserves his share of the blame for the losing streak that has kept the Cowboys from taking control of the NFC East.

“There’s nobody in the NFL that’s any more responsible for what’s going on out on the field than me,” Jones said. “I certainly have that kind of frustration as well.”

The interview got off to a rocky start, with Jones telling the hosts to “get your damn act together” and saying he didn’t like their attitude. Later in the interview, Jones used the word “bulls—” twice, leading the call to be disconnected after a delay button was used in each instance.

The station’s program director confirmed about the disconnect, saying Jones did not hang up.

After being reconnected, Jones said he understands the fans’ frustration with both him and coach Jason Garrett. But the owner noted that it may not help to move on from Garrett at this time.

“You’ve got to remember that when you quit on your coach, then you quit on yourself, because we’re all a part of this,” Jones told the radio station.

Now the Cowboys have 10 days to prepare for the Los Angeles Rams. Jones said there’s plenty of work to be done.

“When you have as many things that were off-kilter as we had last night, you’ve got a nice litany of places to start to correct,” Jones told the radio station.

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Panthers rule out Greg Olsen for Falcons game

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Carolina Panthers on Friday ruled out three-time Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen for Sunday’s game at Atlanta with a concussion.

Olsen suffered the concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Washington Redskins defensive end Ryan Anderson in this past week’s embarrassing 29-21 loss that led to the firing of head coach Ron Rivera two days later.

Anderson was ejected and is expected to be fined by the league.

Olsen said earlier this week he was feeling better, but he didn’t practice all week. He will be replaced by Ian Thomas and Chris Manhertz.

Thomas stepped up last season as a rookie when Olsen was out with a foot injury. The fourth-round pick out of Indiana had 36 catches on 49 targets for 333 yards and two touchdowns. He has only five catches for 28 yards this season, but interim coach Perry Fewell feels is not concerned about the tight end position with Olsen out.

“I feel very good about it,” Fewell said. “Those guys have been pretty consistent this week. Those guys have really busted their heinie this week.”

Olsen was third on the team in receptions with 48 catches for 552 yards and two touchdowns.

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Browns expect to activate tight end David Njoku for Bengals game

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The Cleveland Browns are expected to activate tight end David Njoku for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Njoku has not played since suffering a wrist injury in Week 2 against the New York Jets. He was designated to return from injured reserve Nov. 20 and was nearing the 21-day deadline to be activiated to the roster.

Before the injury, Njoku had four catches for 37 yards and a touchdown.

He caught 56 passes for 639 yards and four scores in 2018.

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