The NFL has upheld Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett’s indefinite suspension for attacking Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with his own helmet, league officials announced Thursday.
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NFL appeals officer James Thrash denied Garrett’s appeal of the suspension. Garrett was seeking a reduction of the suspension length and appeared in person to plead his case at a hearing earlier this week.
With the suspension length upheld, Garrett stands to lose more than $1 million in salary while missing the remaining six games of the Browns’ regular season schedule. The NFL’s initial ruling said Garrett will be suspended for at least the rest of the season and the playoffs, with his reinstatement next season subject to approval by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Garrett reportedly told NFL officials during his appeal hearing that Rudolph had directed a racial slur at him prior to their on-field altercation. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league "found no such evidence" of Garrett's allegation.
The incident occurred in the closing seconds of the Browns’ victory over the Steelers on "Thursday Night Football" last week. After wrestling Rudolph to the ground, Garrett pulled off the quarterback’s helmet and hit him over the head with it. Garrett was one of three players who were suspended in connection with the brawl.
Rudolph’s attorney, Timothy Younger, denied that his client used a racial slur.
"The malicious use of this wild and unfounded allegation is an assault on Mason's integrity which is far worse than the physical assault witnessed on Thursday,” Younger said. “This is reckless and shameful. We will have no further comment."
Garrett was also fined an undisclosed amount over the incident. Adidas, one of his primary sponsors, said it was “looking into” its relationship with the Browns star following the brawl.