Appeals officer James Thrash, who was mutually chosen by the NFL and NFL Player's Association, elected to uphold the initial one-game suspension levied to Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi. Ogunjobi will be held out this week against the Miami Dolphins. Thrash did rescind the additional fine of $10,527, however.
Ogunjobi was guilty of pushing a helmet-less Mason Rudolph to the ground at the tail end of last week's Steelers-Browns brouhaha. The lineman's appeal was heard on Monday.
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey and Browns defensive end Myles Garrett are still awaiting verdicts from their appeals, which were heard Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Pouncey is currently facing a three-game suspension while Garrett was hit with an indefinite suspension that would prohibit him from playing the rest of the season.
All of this is the aftermath of an incident that happened with eight seconds remaining on Thursday Night Football. Rudolph was attempting to yank off Garrett's helmet after what Rudolph considered to be a late hit. Garrett did not appreciate the effort and retaliated by removing Rudolph's helmet. Steelers offensive linemen David DeCastro and Pouncey immediately restrained the defender but the quarterback decided to pursue the scrum, which inexplicably led Garrett to swing Rudolph's helmet at his head. Rudolph was contacted but fortunately is okay. Ogunjobi then knocked Rudolph back to the ground after he had stood up. Meanwhile, Pouncey was throwing punches and curb stomping a defenseless Garrett, who was lying on the ground by that point.
The NFL fined several other players for leaving the bench during the play. The league has understandably taken a hard stance against an event they do not ever want to see replayed on a football field.
Both teams and all players involved have released statements or issued comments expressing their remorse for what occurred. Here is a response from Garrett:
"Last night, I made a terrible mistake. 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."
Ogunjobi explained what led to his involvement that night.
"I saw my teammate getting jumped on and I went over to go help him out. I am not a dirty player and I am not trying to hurt anybody," he said. "I feel like if it was you and your teammate in that situation you would do the same thing. I will probably get a suspension for it, but at the same time if someone is going to come at my teammate, that's my brother. We have been together for three years. It is not anything personal, but I am not going to let you sit there and hit my guy. That is just wrong."
The third-round pick out of Charlotte was second on the team behind Garrett in sacks with five. He has recorded 28 tackles and a pass deflection as well this season. In Ogunjobi's absence, the team will turn to Eli Ankou, Devaroe Lawrence and Sheldon Richardson for increased production.