Friday, the NFL upheld the indefinite suspension of Cleveland Browns defender Myles Garrett for clubbing Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with his own helmet. However, that does not necessarily mean that the league would prefer that Garrett never steps onto the field again. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Sunday morning that the NFL hopes to have the defender back on the Browns' active roster in 2020.
League sources have informed ESPN that the NFL has mandated that Garrett must meet with the commissioner's office during the offseason in order to pave the way for his reinstatement. The reported reason for this is that the league wants to see how he reacts to the lengthy suspension, as well as the $45,623 fine for his role in a Thursday night brawl between the Steelers and Browns.
The report continues by saying that the league will keep an open mind during the offseason meeting. They hope that Garrett's behavior meets expectations and that his answers are "accurate." If so, there is a strong chance that he will be back in the lineup for the 2020 season.
Garrett was originally suspended indefinitely after he ripped off Rudolph's helmet and struck him over the head with it. The defender appealed the length of the suspension last week, citing a precedent set by a similar incident from 2013. Former Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith was suspended two preseason games and one regular-season game for striking then-Miami Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito with his helmet.
However, this suspension was upheld, shelving him for the remainder of the season and the playoffs, provided the Browns secure a spot in the postseason. Based on this suspension, Garrett will miss out on $1.2 million in salary over the final six games on his team's schedule.
Without Garrett on the roster, the Cleveland Browns are expected to work out veteran defensive ends over the coming week in order to bolster the depth of the roster. The list of potential options has not been revealed just yet, but workouts generally take place on Tuesday.
Head coach Freddie Kitchens and the players don't plan on mentioning Garrett for the time being based upon his absence from the field, but that is not a universal opinion. In fact, team owner Dee Haslam showed her support for the suspended defender on Sunday. She arrived for Sunday's game wearing a No. 95 winter cap.
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