Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett is allowed to play and chase quarterbacks again after the NFL Wednesday reinstated the young star from his indefinite suspension for hitting Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph over the head with a helmet.
Garrett was banned after ripping off Rudolph’s helmet and smashing him over the head with it during a Nov. 14 nationally-televised game. Garrett missed Cleveland’s final six games and his loss was a major blow to the Browns, who went 2-4 without him, finished 6-10, fired coach Freddie Kitchens, and saw general manager John Dorsey resign.
On Monday, Garrett met with Commissioner Roger Goodell and other league officials in the final step before he was cleared to return.
Garrett is now cleared to return to all team activities.
He can participate in all of the Browns’ offseason activities and that’s a big relief as the team is undergoing another new start under rookie head coach Kevin Stefanski.
“We welcome Myles back to our organization with open arms,’’ Browns vice president of football operations and GM Andrew Berry said.
‘‘We know he is grateful to be reinstated, eager to put the past behind him and continue to evolve and grow as a leader. We look forward to having his strong positive presence back as a teammate, player and person in our community.”
Garrett did not release a statement, but he posted a meme on his Twitter account of a scene from the film “John Wick” with the subtitle: “But now yeah, I'M THINKING I'M BACK!!!”
As the Browns were wrapping up a rare win over the Steelers in a Thursday night matchup, Garrett, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2017, pulled down Rudoplph after a pass attempt and the two wrestled on the ground. Rudolph tried to pull off Garrett’s helmet but couldn't. Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet and swung and struck him with it, triggering a brawl between the teams.
Garrett paid dearly for his misstep. He was fined $45,623 and lost $1.14 million in game checks. His reputation also took a shot and he'll have to watch his behavior going forward as another violent incident could result in even harsher discipline by the league.
Garrett’s suspension is the longest for a single behavior in league history. Tennessee’s Albert Haynesworth was suspended five games for stomping on a player’s helmet-less head in 2006.
Garrett appealed his ban and Garrett told independent officer James Thrash during his hearing that Rudolph had used a slur during their skirmish. However, Thrash upheld the decision and Garrett was done for the season.
Jaguars hire McAdoo
Jacksonville hired former New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo as quarterbacks coach, replacing Scott Milanovich, who left to take the head coaching job with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos.
The 42-year-old McAdoo, now tasked with helping Gardner Minshew take the next step in his career, is the second ex-NFL head coach to join Doug Marrone’s staff. Jacksonville hired former Washington head coach Jay Gruden last month as offensive coordinator.
The Giants fired McAdoo late in the 2017 season. He has been out of the NFL since.
McAdoo spent less than two seasons as the Giants’ head coach. He was fired after a 2-10 start in 2017. He benched Eli Manning before a Week 13 game, ending the quarterback’s consecutive starts streak at 210 games, and was fired the following Monday along with general manager Jerry Reese.
The Giants went 11-5, finishing second in the NFC East, and lost a wild-card game to Green Bay in McAdoo’s first season. Before his head coaching stint, McAdoo was the Giants’ offensive coordinator (2014-15) under ex-Jaguars executive Tom Coughlin. He also spent two seasons (2012-13) as Green Bay’s quarterbacks coach and worked alongside Aaron Rodgers.
Freeman out in Atlanta?
The NFL Network reported that the Atlanta Falcons may release running back Devonta Freeman with three years left on a five-year, $41.25 million extension he signed in 2017.
Money could be a major factor in the decision, with Freeman’s dead cap number at $6 million in 2020 but jumping to $9.5 million next year.
Freeman rushed for 3,000 yards and 29 touchdowns from 2015-2017 before injuries held him to 16 games over the past two seasons, rushing for 724 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught 64 passes for 433 yards and four scores.