On Wednesday, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett will have the appeal hearing on his indefinite suspension, resulting from removing the helmet of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and hitting him in the head with it.
Garrett’s best argument comes from the notion that the rules don’t permit an indefinite suspension for on-field misconduct. And that’s apparently one of the arguments he’ll make.
If he prevails on that point, it’s unclear what would happen next. It could be argued that the entire suspension is defective, and thus must be scrapped. A more realistic argument would be that the suspension should be capped at the six games (plus postseason) imposed on Garrett for the balance of 2019.
The league surely would argue that, if the indefinite suspension is defective, it should be able to impose a definite suspension. And that’s where things could get dicey for Garrett. By fighting the ability of the league to defer a final decision until it has a chance to meet with Garrett after the season, the league may decide to give him a definite suspension right now of 10 or 12 or more games.
However it plays out, the NFL must be aggressive with Garrett. He could have seriously injured Rudolph, or worse. While the absence of a serious outcome saved Garrett from criminal or civil prosecution, it shouldn’t save him from a significant punishment from the league. Every current and future player must realize that no player ever should engage in this type of behavior again, because the next time could be the first time the player struck with the helmet suffers a severe concussion or a fractured skull.