BEREA, Ohio — Within the span of two weeks, the Cleveland Browns have gone from inevitably undisciplined to unequivocally embarrassing.
Thursday evening, that culminated with defensive finish Myles Garrett ripping the helmet off Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and clubbing him within the head with it. The NFL responded quickly, handing Garrett an unprecedented punishment for a single on-field act, suspending him for the remainder of this season, playoffs included.
Even when the Browns win, they nonetheless appear to lose.
Garrett’s indefensible lapse amidst one of many ugliest melees in NFL historical past overshadowed considered one of Cleveland’s greatest victories lately.
The Browns’ antics outdoors enjoying soccer this season have overshadowed every thing.
Garrett’s infraction clearly stands alone. But it surely’s hardly remoted, both.
In simply the final 11 days, the Dangerous Information Browns have misplaced three starters for causes aside from harm.
That features security Jermaine Whitehead, who two video games in the past in Denver was waived after sending threatening Twitter messages from contained in the guests locker room. Whitehead’s tweets have been so vicious, his account had been suspended earlier than he even boarded the departing workforce bus.
Then simply 4 hours earlier than kickoff Thursday, the Browns introduced that they had reduce vast receiver Antonio Callaway, as nicely. In a recreation in opposition to Buffalo the week earlier than, he was benched for displaying up late to the stadium. Turned out Callaway, whose “progress” basic supervisor John Dorsey had praised solely a month in the past, had additionally violated the NFL’s substance abuse coverage for a second time and was slapped with a 10-game suspension, abruptly ending his troubled tenure in Cleveland.
“I believe each time one thing dangerous or good occurs, you attempt to consider and see what you possibly can have achieved otherwise,” mentioned coach Freddie Kitchens, who appeared visibly shaken and in disbelief by what transpired Thursday evening. “I simply know that we preach all the time about sustaining our composure and it solely comes up each time you’ve gotten the chance to take care of your composure. That’s the place we’re sitting with that.”
In the end, a workforce’s composure — or lack thereof — falls again on the top coach. Counting the Pittsburgh recreation, the Browns have now been penalized 87 occasions this season, their most by way of 10 video games since 1978, in keeping with the Elias Sports activities Bureau.
Cleveland additionally now leads the NFL in ejections, which incorporates left sort out Greg Robinson kicking a Tennessee Titans participant within the head in Week 1. That very same recreation, by the best way, Garrett punched Titans tight finish Delanie Walker within the facemask.
Max Kellerman says Mason Rudolph ought to be suspended at the very least a recreation for instigating the battle with Myles Garrett, whereas Garrett ought to get two to 4 video games.
“I believe we’re at all times trying to find methods to enhance the best way we’re considered, as a corporation, as a coach, as a participant,” Kitchens added. “Particularly in occasions like this.”
Kitchens warrants a lot of the blame for the best way these Browns are actually being considered, which is because the league’s dirtiest workforce. That dates again to a joint apply in Indianapolis in August when the Browns instigated a number of skirmishes with the Colts, to the purpose the scrimmages nearly needed to be known as off.
Defensive sort out Larry Ogunjobi added to that repute when he drilled a helmetless Rudolph within the again after Garrett had already struck the quarterback within the head. Ogunjobi, whom the NFL suspended a recreation as nicely, curiously claimed he was coming to Garrett’s protection. However by that time, Rudolph was nowhere close to Garrett, who was combating off different Pittsburgh gamers, notably middle Maurkice Pouncey. In actuality, Ogunjobi delivered simply one other Cleveland low cost shot.
Kitchens may be culpable for that, the unending barrage of penalties and the uncanny knack the Browns have for self-sabotage.
However no one will be blamed for what Garrett did aside from Garrett, who severely broken his workforce’s playoff probabilities with one inexplicable swing of a helmet.
All of which led to the surreal scene Thursday evening. A workforce in victory, admitting to feeling like a workforce in defeat.