Myles Garrett

North Notes: Landry, Garrett, Bears, Lions

Both of the Browns‘ starting wide receivers may need offseason surgeries. While Odell Beckham Jr. has been battling a sports hernia injury that is not yet certain to require a corrective procedure, Jarvis Landry‘s hip problem might need to be operated on next year, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes. Landry has dealt with a hip injury all season, though the malady’s severity is uncertain. Landry has not missed a game this season, but going into his third Browns campaign, it appears likely he will miss some of the team’s offseason program. With Freddie Kitchens a possible one-and-done candidate, an offseason absence could loom larger considering a new playbook may be en route.

Here is more out of Cleveland and the latest from other North-division locales:

  • Although Myles Garrett is suspended indefinitely, he is now allowed back at the Browns’ facility, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports. The NFL initially barred Garrett from team headquarters but has since permitted the Pro Bowl defensive end to return to the team’s Berea, Ohio, complex. However, Garrett remains ineligible to attend Browns meetings or practices. But he’s allowed to work individually with Browns training and medical personnel in the building, per Ulrich.
  • Mitchell Trubisky‘s uneven play, especially when compared to draft classmates Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, has been the primary Bears talking point this season. But the third-year quarterback has fared better as of late, and Joel Corry of CBS Sports expects the team to pick up his fifth-year option by May (Twitter link). That 2021 option price is expected to come in at approximately $25MM. Fifth-year options are guaranteed for injury only.
  • The Bears opted not to retain former safety starter Adrian Amos, adding Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on a buy-low deal instead. Chicago likely will make a strong effort to keep Eddie Jackson, and Corry expects the third-year safety to command a top-market contract (Twitter link). The safety market reignited in 2019, and Kevin Byard‘s $14.1MM-per-year deal current represents the position’s top figure. A 2017 fifth-round pick who is now a two-time Pro Bowler, Jackson becomes extension-eligible at the end of the regular season.
  • Darius Slay was mentioned in trade talks before this year’s deadline. Were the Lions to attempt to unload their top cornerback in the offseason, the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers expects a second-round pick to be around the level of compensation for which the team could aim. However, with perhaps both Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia on the hot seat in 2020, it would probably behoove them to retain their top cover man rather than deal him for a Day 2 pick. Slay, however, skipped the Lions’ 2019 offseason program while lobbying for a new contract. His current deal expires after next season.

QB Notes: Wentz, Rudolph, Darnold, Carr

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz struggled once again in Philadelphia’s 17-9 loss to the Seahawks. Wentz received a x-ray on his right hand during the second half of the game, but would not blame his poor play on the injury, according to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. In his postgame press conference, when asked if the injury affected his play, he said, “I don’t think it did.” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson clarified that the x-rays were negative, but Wentz would go through further tests.

Whether the injury played a role or not, Philadelphia needs to find an answer for their offensive woes. Wentz made a number of poor decisions, but two passes to open receivers in the flat that sailed well out of reach were especially emblematic of his problems. The Eagles are now 5-6 on the season, but have a vital stretch of their schedule against Miami, New York, and Washington. It will be crucial for their playoff chances to come out victorious against three of the weakest teams in the league.

Check out some other notes on quarterbacks around the league:

  • After being benched in the Steelers 16-10 win over the Bengals, quarterback Mason Rudolph addressed allegations from Browns defensive end Myles Garrett that Rudolph used a racial slur last week on Thursday Night Football. Rudolph adamantly denied the claims with reporters after the game, writes Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “I couldn’t believe it and I couldn’t believe that he would go that route after the fact. But it is what it is and I think I’ve moved on. One day it was tough, but moved on. We’re good to go now.” Rudolph reiterated the claims were “totally untrue” and when asked if he said anything that could have been construed in a racist way he said, ““Absolutely not.’’
  • Young quarterback Sam Darnold was criticized a few weeks ago for talking about the playoffs with half the season remaining, but the young Jets gunslinger is showing progress dealing with the media, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. Darnold mentioned that the playoffs were in the back of his mind after 34-3 blowout win against the Raiders, but quickly made clear that he is taking the season one game at a time. This season has definitely been a roller coaster for Darnold who is still looking to string a few strong games together after missing the start of the season dealing with mononucleosis.
  • Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was benched amidst a blowout loss to the Jets by head coach Jon Gruden. The move is not meant to create any controversy at the position, however. Carr was removed alongside other important players in Oakland’s rotation to protect them from injury down 31 in the third quarter. Still, Gruden acknowledged the difficulty decision talking with reporters after the game, according to Jerry McDonald of The Mercury News. “I didn’t want to take him out, but doing what I think is right and I’m sure I’ll be second-guessed for that but I think I’m doing what’s right for our football team.”

North Notes: Stafford, Trubisky, Garrett, Steelers

The Lions have discussed shutting down Matthew Stafford for the season because of his back injury, but that is not what the quarterback wants, and he still is hoping to play again this year, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. According to Schefter, not only does Stafford want to play, but he is, in the words of one source, “maniacal” about it.

Stafford, 31, missed his third straight game this afternoon against the Washington Redskins, which ended in a 19-16 loss. Jeff Driskel once again filled in for Stafford, throwing for an ugly 207 yards, with 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions, with Driskel throwing one of those interceptions at a crucial moment in the 4th quarter with one minute left to play. Before today’s loss, Driskel had started two games, throwing for 478 yards, with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.

With the fractures in Stafford’s back, surgery is not considered an option, says Schefter. The injuries are potentially chronic, and Stafford knows that the pain, which he has dealt with dating back to last season, could be an issue for him for years to come. But Stafford still wants to return to play this season, despite knowing the risks involved.

It’s unlikely he will be able to return in time for the Lions’ Thanksgiving Day game against the Bears, with Driskel set to make that start.

Here are some more notes from the North:

  • Despite his lackluster play and injury concerns, the Bears are “still firmly behind” Mitchell Trubisky, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Rapoport goes on to say that the organization feels the entire offense needs to play better, not just Trubisky. Trubisky suffered a hip injury in last week’s loss to the Rams, but made the start in this afternoon’s 19-14 win over the Giants. In the win, the former second overall pick threw for 278 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions, while also rushing for a score.
  • Although Myles Garrett‘s suspension was upheld and he will miss the rest of this season, the NFL is hopeful and optimistic that the Pro Bowl pass rusher will not miss any games next season, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Schefter goes on to say that the NFL has mandated that Garrett must meet with the commissioner’s office during the offseason, and the NFL is doing that because it wants to see how he reacts to the lengthy suspension after the brawl that he was a part of earlier this month against the Steelers. Since losing the appeal, Garrett stands to lose about $1.2MM in salary for missing the six remaining games this season.
  • After the Steelers benched quarterback Mason Rudolph for Devlin Hodges in their 16-10 win over the Bengals this afternoon, Mike Tomlin said he felt like the offense just needed a spark, and that “Mason wasn’t doing enough.”, relays NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Tomlin would go on to say they’ll “see what next week holds”, with regard to his starting quarterback for next week’s matchup against the Browns. Hodges, a rookie out of Samford University, who signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent this past spring and was promoted off of the practice squad after Ben Roethlisberger’s injury, finished the game 5-of-11 for 118 yards and a touchdown in the comeback win. Before being benched, Rudolph was struggling, completing just 8 of 16 pass attempts for 65 yards and an interception.

 

La Canfora’s Latest: Rivers, Garrett, Smith

CBS Sports scribe Jason La Canfora published his usual Sunday slate of items from around the league, including reports on the future of Panthers HC Ron Rivera in Carolina and the Titanspotential desire to re-sign QB Ryan Tannehill. Let’s take a look at a few more notes from JLC:

  • Chargers QB Philip Rivers is eligible for free agency at season’s end, and in light of his struggles in 2019, there has already been plenty of speculation about his future with the Bolts. La Canfora says the team is currently not planning on having any extension talks with Rivers’ camp, and for his part, Rivers has shown no desire in promoting the team’s move to Los Angeles (he still lives in San Diego and spends up to four hours a day commuting to and from the Chargers’ facility). La Canfora suggests that the Chargers, who may not be picking high enough in the 2020 draft to land a top collegiate passer, could move on from Rivers but may pursue a veteran signal-caller like Cam Newton.
  • La Canfora details all of the steps the league took to investigate Browns‘ DE Myles Garrett‘s claim that Steelers QB Mason Rudolph used a racial slur in the lead-up to the now infamous brawl between the two clubs, and the NFL did not find a shred of corroborating evidence. The good news for Cleveland is that the league currently has no intention of extending Garrett’s suspension into the 2020 season. Garrett will be required to schedule a meeting with the league and the union to have a “check-in” of sorts, but assuming that goes well, he should be reinstated without incident.
  • Former Texans GM Rick Smith left the team after the 2017 season when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, but he is open to returning to the league in 2020 should the right opportunity emerge. He is apparently ready and able to assume all duties that go along with running a franchise, and since there may be fewer elite GM candidates in 2020 than in years past, Smith could be appealing to a number of clubs. Although Houston is currently without a GM, La Canfora says a reunion between the two sides is not in the cards.

AFC North Notes: Garrett, Steelers, Ravens

While last week’s focus on the brawl that ended with an indefinite suspension for Myles Garrett centered on his ugly on-field act, this week produced an explosive allegation from the Browns defensive end. Although Garrett did not accuse Mason Rudolph of using a racial slur publicly after the fight, he did say that occurred when pleading his case to the NFL. However, Garrett also told some of his Browns teammates the Steelers quarterback used the slur, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports. Freddie Kitchens added that he believes Garrett, who is not permitted to communicate with the Browns until he’s reinstated. The Steelers have denied the slur occurred, as did Rudolph’s attorney. Garrett’s statement indicated Rudolph’s alleged slur does not excuse his actions, but with the Browns and Steelers set to play again next week in Pittsburgh, with Rudolph presumably under center, this is likely to come up again soon.

With news of more fines being handed out, here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Rudolph, Garrett and Maurkice Pouncey led the way in fines for this ugly scene, but overall, the league doled out a whopping $716K in total fines assessed to the teams and players involved. While Larry Ogunjobi was suspended for a game, the Browns defensive tackle was not fined by the league for his role in the skirmish. Overall, 32 players were fined for varying roles in the fight, with most of them being charged just more than $3K, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter).
  • A young staffer has John Harbaugh‘s ear during Ravens games. Football analyst Daniel Stern communicates win probabilities to the 12th-year Baltimore coach from the booth, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (subscription required). Current running backs coach Matt Weiss previously held this role, but Stern, a 25-year-old Yale graduate, is now tasked with aiding some of Harbaugh’s key game-management decisions. Be it the fourth-and-2 touchdown against the Seahawks or two-point conversion attempts against the Chiefs, the Ravens have been noticeably more aggressive this season.
  • The Browns worked out former Colts safety Jake Thieneman this week, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter).
  • The Bengals will have left tackle Cordy Glenn back in their starting lineup on Sunday.

Steelers QB Mason Rudolph Fined $50K

The Steelers/Browns brawl will end up costing Mason Rudolph a pretty penny. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the quarterback has been fined $50K for his role in the fight. Rapoport adds that additional players will be or have been fined.

We previously heard that Rudolph had escaped a suspension but was slapped with a fine. It was clear from camera angles that the 24-year-old played a role in escalating the confrontation with Myles Garrett, as he tugged at the defensive end’s helmet after being driven to the ground. After having his own helmet removed, the quarterback charged Garrett, with some pundits suggesting that Rudolph himself should have earned a suspension.

Further, Garrett has alleged that Rudolph used a racial slur towards him during the buildup to the brawl. The quarterback has denied the accusation, and the NFL said it found no evidence of the slur. Garrett has since doubled down on the claim.

As Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com points out, the $50K fine is one of the largest penalties of the 2019 campaign. The writer also opines that Rudolph could have a case during a potential appeal; players with no previous offenses generally get their fines reduced if the fine exceeds 25-percent of the player’s weekly salary. As David Smith points out, Rudolph is making a bit under $39K each week.

We learned earlier this week that Garrett’s suspension would stand as is, as the NFL upheld the indefinite ban. Interestingly, Howard Balzer points out (via Twitter) that the league’s official transaction report doesn’t list Garrett’s suspension as indefinite. Rather, it says the suspension is for the remainder of the regular season and postseason.

Steelers offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey successfully appealed his penalty, dropping his suspension from three games to two games. The NFL had previously upheld Larry Ogunjobi‘s one-game suspension.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Rumors: Garrett, Glenn, Steelers

While different accounts have surfaced about how the brawl started, the NFL has issued final rulings on the central cogs in the Browns-Steelers melee. One interesting fallout item: Myles Garrett‘s appeal being denied will leave him on his own for a while. The Browns are not permitted to communicate with the star defensive end during his suspension, Freddie Kitchens confirmed (via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, on Twitter). This sort of banishment is usually associated with players battling bans for off-field conduct, but Garrett’s case is certainly unique. This could prove interesting if the Browns make Kitchens a one-and-done coach. Garrett would not be permitted to discuss a new scheme with the team. With NFL appeals officer James Thrash denying the former No. 1 overall pick’s case at avoiding an indefinite suspension, Garrett must apply for reinstatement in the 2020 offseason.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Cordy Glenn will not only make his 2019 debut Sunday, but the Bengals are preparing to slot the eighth-year back in as their left tackle starter, Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes. This will be a pivotal stretch for Glenn, who battled a concussion for several weeks before a contentious period with the Bengals resulted in the 30-year-old lineman’s one-game suspension. The Bengals were ready to shift Glenn to left guard, making room for first-rounder Jonah Williams, but the latter’s offseason injury nixed that. Glenn, who will replace John Jerry at left tackle, has no guaranteed money left on his deal. The Bills extension he signed in 2016 runs through 2020, but the Bengals could save $9.25MM by releasing him next year.
  • A.J. Green will not join Glenn in uniform against the Steelers. The ninth-year wideout will miss his 11th game of the season and 15th straight. Green is looking at a missed season and is set to profile as one of the more interesting free agents in recent years. The 31-year-old receiver has not practice since Nov. 4.
  • The Steelers have officially ruled out JuJu Smith-Schuster out for Week 12, but the team did see quick progress from fellow wideout starter Diontae Johnson. The rookie cleared concussion protocol and is not listed on Pittsburgh’s injury report. He and James Washington will go into Cincinnati as Mason Rudolph‘s top targets.
  • Admitting the team gambled by not taking Lamar Jackson with its first 2018 draft pick, Ravens GM Eric DeCosta discussed the process that led them to draft the MVP candidate at No. 32 overall last year.

Injury Notes: Vernon, Falcons, Njoku, Cole

With defensive lineman Myles Garrett and Larry Objunjobi suspended for this week’s matchup against the Bengals, the Browns were hoping to invite starting end Olivier Vernon back into the lineup after missing the team’s previous two games with a knee injury. However, according to Mary Kay Kabot of Cleveland.com, Vernon has been ruled out for Sunday’s contest, leaving Sheldon Richardson as the team’s only primary starter along the defensive front.

It has been a chaotic season for Cleveland, reaching a climax in last Thursday’s on-field fight with the Steelers. Hoping to put that in the rear-view mirror the Browns will have to rely heavily on their depth to build some positive momentum.

Here’s some more injury notes from around the NFL:

  • The Falcons will be without two of their primary offensive weapons this weekend. Running back Devonta Freeman and tight end Austin Hooper are both out for this Sunday’s game alongside rotational defensive back Kemal Ishmael, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitutional.
  • Browns tight end David Njoku will not return this week from the injured reserve, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Njoku, who has been rehabbing a wrist injury, returned to practice this week, but is not quite ready for game action.
  • Texans linebacker Dylan Cole is out for the season with a torn ACL, according to Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle. Cole served as Houston’s primary backup at two linebacker positions and played a major role in the team’s special teams. He played in 11 games and recorded 16 tackles on the season. Going forward, the Texans will need to sure up their depth on special teams and on the second level of their defense.

League Notes: Whitehead, Brown, Garrett

The Browns released safety Jermaine Whitehead following an outburst of threats against critics on social media. While it does not excuse Whitehead’s actions, a number of fellow players understood what led him there, according to ESPN Staff Writer Jeremy Fowler. Fowler describes it as commonplace for players to return to their lockers after games and check their phones before even removing their pads. Players describe an accumulation of frustration with fans criticism that often goes beyond and enters the realm of hatefulness.

Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree had a similar, albeit substantially milder, incident last season involving his response to a tweet. Dupree mentioned specific tweets, some that included racial slurs, that eventually pushed him to react. The league has an instituted “cooling off period,” which restricts players ability to post on social media after games, but Whitehead’s threats came far after that period ended. It will be interested to see if Whitehead’s decision changes how the league, teams, and players approach social media and if more players choose to eliminate the practice altogether.

Here’s more news from around the league off the field:

  • Free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown had seemed hopeful that he could soon return to the field. While the currently unsigned wideout remains marred in controversy, a number of social media posts last week suggested he may have been approaching a new deal. However, there is no reason to believe any team would be interested in signing Brown at the moment because they believe he would be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list as soon as he was signed, according to Mark Maske of The Washington Post.
  • The NFL upheld the league’s indefinite suspension of Browns defensive end Myles Garrett yesterday. One point in Garrett’s appeal, which has garnered significant social media attention, was an accusation that Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph used a racial slur against Garrett that prompted his violent response. When the league upheld Garrett’s suspension, many assumed the league had reviewed the on-field audio recorded and found no corroborating evidence. That now appears to be only half the story. The NFL did find no evidence Rudolph used a racial slur, but the league also had no recorded sound on the field to review in the case, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

Myles Garrett On Racial Slur: I Know What I Heard

Myles Garrett is doubling down on his claim that Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph used a racial slur in the buildup to the infamous brawl that occurred last Thursday night, as the Browns defensive end indicated on Twitter.

“I was assured that the hearing was space that afforded the opportunity to speak openly and honestly about the incident that led to my suspension. This was not meant for public dissemination, nor was it a convenient attempt to justify my actions or restore my image in the eyes of those I disappointed.

“I know what I heard. Whether my opponent’s comment was born out of frustration or ignorance, I cannot say. But his actions do not excuse my lack of restraint in the moment, and I truly regret the impact this has had on the league, the Browns and our devoted fans.”

As the NFL indicated in a statement earlier today, the league found no evidence that Rudolph used such a slur before or during the fight. Microphones are all over the field during an NFL game, so it seems likely that any slur would have picked up. Nevertheless, Garrett is standing by his claim.

Garrett’s appeal of his indefinite ban was denied today, meaning he’s suspended for at least the rest of the 2019 regular season and playoffs. Meanwhile, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey saw his suspension reduced from three games to two.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.