The league suspended Browns defensive end Myles Garrett without pay indefinitely, adding that at minimum Garrett will miss the regular season and postseason as a result of his actions in the conflict, which included violations "of unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules, as well as fighting, removing the helmet of an opponent and using the helmet as a weapon," per a statement from NFL senior VP of communications Michael Signora. Garrett also was fined an additional amount for his actions Thursday night.
"Last night, I made a terrible mistake," Garrett said in a statement. "I lost my cool and what I did was selfish and unacceptable. I know that we are all responsible for our actions and I can only prove my true character through my actions moving forward. I want to apologize to Mason Rudolph, my teammates, our entire organization, our fans and to the NFL. I know I have to be accountable for what happened, learn from my mistake and I fully intend to do so."
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was suspended three games without pay and fined an additional amount for his actions, which included "punching and kicking an opponent." Pouncey is expected to appeal, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source. He would miss Pittsburgh's second meeting with Cleveland this season if the suspension is upheld.
Garrett's teammate, defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, was "suspended without pay for one game and fined an additional amount for unnecessary roughness, specifically for shoving an opposing player to the ground during an altercation." Rapoport added Ogunjobi is also appealing his punishment, per a source with knowledge of the situation.
The league will also fine Rudolph for his role in the brawl, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported.
"We are extremely disappointed in what transpired last evening at the end of our game," Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement Friday. "There is no place for that in football and that is not reflective of the core values we strive for as an organization. We sincerely apologize to Mason Rudolph and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Myles Garrett has been a good teammate and member of our organization and community for the last three years but his actions last night were completely unacceptable. We understand the consequences from the league for his actions."
"As an organization, we are disappointed with what occurred last night near the end of our game against the Cleveland Browns. The actions of the players involved were not something that should be part of any football game. Our players, coaches and everyone in the Steelers organization understand that we must always maintain composure, no matter what happens. After a hard-fought game between two rivals, it is a shame that the game ended that way."
With other players from both sides also getting involved in the conflict to varying degrees, the league added that "additional discipline for other players will be forthcoming through the standard accountability process, including those players that left the bench to enter the fight area."
It is expected that each player involved will appeal their punishments, which is typically standard practice when it comes to league-administered discipline, though the outcomes of such appeals are difficult to predict. Thursday night's events left an ugly mark on what is supposed to be one of the league's three showcase nights of the week. Instead of talking about the Browns' second straight win, all anyone was left to discuss was the fight that marred the entire night.