BEREA, Ohio (AP) – Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry called the NFL for two penalties – false start and illegal procedure in its handling of Myles Garrettâ€™s suspension.
â€œIt was not fair to Myles,â€ Landry said.
Garrett was banned indefinitely by the league for striking Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph over the head with a helmet last week, the shocking act disrupting Clevelandâ€™s season and intensifying an already heated rivalry with Pittsburgh.
Garrett had asked for a reduction of his unprecedented penalty – the longest for a single on-field act in league history. He was denied Thursday by appeals officer James Thrash, whose ruling came out shortly after a report surfaced that the Pro Bowl defensive end told the league Rudolph used a racial slur.
Garrett later stood by his claim, saying on Twitter: â€œI know what I heard.â€
Thrash did reduce Steelers center Maurkice Pounceyâ€™s suspension from three games to two for kicking and punching Garrett. One day earlier, Thrash upheld a one-game suspension for Brown defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, who pushed a helmet-less Rudolph to the ground in the melee.
On Friday, Landry and some other Browns players were trying to make sense of the discipline, saying it was hurried and one-sided. They also want to know why Rudolph escaped punishment.
â€œI still do feel like the league handled the process too quickly, made a decision too quickly,â€ Landry said. â€œWith less than 24 hours, they made a decision. With the appeal process, you have a guy kicking and punching Myles, and he gets suspended, he gets a game taken off of his suspension? Then you have Larry who did way less than that. He still gets suspended for his game. So it makes no sense.
â€œThen you have a guy who’s involved and pretty much instigated the whole thing, and nothing happens to him. It’s almost like deliberately trying to like mess with Cleveland.â€
The Browns have firmly supported Garrett from the outset, and that backing didnâ€™t change following Thursdayâ€™s explosive revelation that race may have ignited the incident.
For the second straight day, Browns coach Freddie Kitchens would not divulge if Garrett told him Rudolph used a racial slur.
â€œI will not reconsider anything I have talked about with Myles Garrett, but I will say this about Mylesâ€™ character: if he tells me something, I am going to believe it,â€ Kitchens said.
Landryâ€™s main complaint with the league is that its initial ruling came less than 12 hours after Garrett pulled off Rudolphâ€™s helmet before swinging it and hitting the QB on top of the head.
Landry didnâ€™t condone his teammateâ€™s behavior, but he believes the league should have done a more thorough investigation.
â€œItâ€™s about, I guess, protecting the shield and protecting the brand and all of that,â€ he said. â€œI just think that it was something that no one has seen as far as the use of a helmet, but fights and all of this stuff, they occur all the time in NFL games. I think just being prime time, national stage, the way that they responded with the suspension within 12 hours, it was just all video evidence.
â€œNobody really had an opportunity to make a case of to say anything. The suspension was already done.â€
Browns defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson maintains Garrett is being truthful regarding Rudolph.
â€œI donâ€™t think he would lie about nothing like that, even in the situation that heâ€™s in,â€ Richardson said.
Purely from a football perspective, Garrettâ€™s loss is devastating to Clevelandâ€™s defense. The 2017 No. 1 pick is overpowering, dominant and irreplaceable, a player capable of changing a game with a sack – and sometimes merely by his presence.
Now, heâ€™s missing and the Browns donâ€™t have anyone who can adequately fill his size 17 cleats.
â€œMyles is a once-in-a-generation player, so obviously not having a guy like that on the field is going to be hard,â€ said linebacker Joe Schobert, who was limited in practice Friday by a groin injury. â€œWeâ€™ve got other guys that can make plays. And as long as everybody on the defense knows their job, knows their role and their assignment, I have full confidence in everybody whoâ€™s going to be out there.â€
Along with the suspensions of Garrett and Ogunjobi, the Browns will also be missing starting defensive end Olivier Vernon, who will miss his third straight game with a sprained knee. Those three have combined for 18 of the teamâ€™s 31 sacks.
Richardson is the teamâ€™s only healthy starter up front. Chad Thomas and Chris Smith are expected to start on the edges, with Devaroe Lawrence taking Ogunjobiâ€™s spot inside next to Richardson.
â€œWe have total confidence in those guys are going to step in and play well,â€ Kitchens said. â€œWe do not need them to just be out there. We need them to play well, and I have full confidence that they will do that.â€
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