Myles Garrett looked composed and casual, a stark contrast to the last time he was seen in public.
Stylishly dressed in a bright blue suit and black turtleneck, the Cleveland Browns’ star defensive end met Wednesday with an appeals officer in New York in hopes of getting a reduction to an indefinite NFL suspension that has temporarily ended Garrett’s season and tarnished his career.
Garrett was banned last week for the rest of the regular season and playoffs, if Cleveland makes them, for striking Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with a helmet in the closing seconds of the Browns’ 21-7 victory on Oct. 14. Garrett appealed and his case was heard by league-appointed officer James Thrash, a former NFL player, who will either lessen the penalty or put a definitive number of games on it.
The former No. 1 overall draft pick spent roughly two hours in the league’s Manhattan offices before leaving with his representatives. He did not speak to the media.
According to ESPN, Garrett used a precedent-based argument during his hearing, citing the NFL’s punishment for a similar incident involving Houston’s Antonio Smith in 2013. Smith was suspended for two preseason games and one regular-season game for swinging his helmet at then-Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito.
On Wednesday, Rudolph, who likely will be fined for his involvement, said he doesn’t begrudge Garrett.
“I have no ill will toward Myles Garrett, great respect for his ability as a player and I know if Myles could go back he would handle the situation differently,” Rudolph told reporters in Pittsburgh after reading a statement. “As for my involvement last week, there is no acceptable excuse. The bottom line is I should have done a better job keeping my composure.”
It’s unclear when Thrash will rule on Garrett’s appeal. As part of his punishment, the league said Garrett is required to meet with commissioner Roger Goodell’s office before he can be reinstated.
Meanwhile, Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi’s one-game suspension for his role in the brawl was upheld.
Bell rips testing
Jets running back Le’Veon Bell said he has been unfairly targeted by the league after taking a fifth test this season for performance enhancers and criticizes the NFL’s policy.
“I done had 5 ‘random’ HGH blood test in 10 weeks,” Bell tweeted. “(at)NFL I’m not doing another after today, whatever y’all lookin for it obviously ain’t there.”
The random drug testing is part of a collectively bargained policy between the NFL and NFL Players Association. An independent administrator determines via a computer program which players are tested each week.
Browns add Njoku
Browns tight end David Njoku returned to practice after missing eight games because of a broken right wrist . . . Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said his right hip is improving and he expects to play Sunday against the Giants if he’s ready . . . The Dolphins’ roster is becoming as thin as their playoff chances. Starting safeties Reshad Jones and safety Bobby McCain went on injured reserve, further depleting an already shaky secondary. On Tuesday, Miami cut leading rusher Mark Walton hours after he was arrested on charges of punching his pregnant girlfriend in the head.