Cleveland Browns star Myles Garrett won’t be playing for the foreseeable future after his indefinite suspension was upheld, the NFL said Thursday.
The decision was announced following an appeal hearing Wednesday in which Garrett claimed his brutal helmet attack on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph was preceded by Rudolph’s use of a racial slur.
The allegation, which was first reported by ESPN, led Rudolph’s attorney and the Steelers on Thursday to deny he made any such disparaging remark. The details regarding the alleged racial slur were unclear, although ESPN said Garrett made the accusation as part of his initial comments during his appeal hearing in New York.
NBC News could not immediately confirm the report, and reached out to Garrett’s agent for further comment.
Garrett, a defensive end who was Cleveland’s No. 1 pick in 2017, was suspended without pay indefinitely by the NFL after the Nov. 14 melee in which Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet and struck him with it in the head in the closing seconds of the game.
In a statement, Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said Rudolph “vehemently denies” he used a racial slur prior to the attack.
“He will not discuss this accusation any further and his focus remains on preparation for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals,” Lauten added.
Rudolph’s attorney, Timothy Younger, said in a statement that Garrett had not previously claimed Rudolph used a racial slur and it was “conspicuously absent in the apology published by the Browns and adopted by Garrett.”
He also called it a “desperate attempt to mitigate his suspension.”
Rudolph has previously denied saying anything to escalate the fight, and he has not been subjected to any penalties as a result of his role in the brawl that broke out involving multiple players from both teams. The attack came with just eight seconds left in the game.
Rudolph has called the violence “pretty cowardly, pretty bush league.”
The Browns and Steelers have a long-running rivalry, and following Thursday’s game Garrett said he “lost my cool and I regret it.”
On Thursday, when asked about Garrett’s allegation against Rudolph, Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens said he stands by his player.
In the moments following the brawl, Garrett has “been nothing but professional with his responses.” He added that whatever the arbiter decides, “we’ll respect his decision.”
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was also punished for taking part in the fight, and received a three-game suspension after punching and kicking Garrett. Appeals officers decided to reduce his suspension to two games while upholding a $35,096 fine, the NFL said Thursday