Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett got the harshest consequence for Thursday night’s game-ending brawl, but he’s not the only one who received punishment as the NFL sorts out the stunning final moments of a heated game.
After Garrett ripped off Mason Rudolph’s helmet and started hitting him in the head with it, Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey rushed in to protect his quarterback. He threw punches as Garrett was taken to the ground and continued to kick him as he was pinned on the ground. The seven-time Pro Bowler was given a personal foul while Garrett and defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi were ejected.
Pouncey told reporters after the game he “blacked out” and doesn’t remember what he did. When asked if he’d get a suspension, he said “At this point, who cares? My man got hit in the head with a helmet."
“I’ll accept whatever penalty it is. I don’t care. I was in protection mode,” Pouncey said.
Pouncey, ‘a hero’, protected his QB
In addition to the suspension, Pouncey was fined an undisclosed amount for his actions since hitting with a closed fist triggers it automatically. However, the nine-year veteran was applauded by some on Twitter for protecting his player, a move Deion Sanders said would make him a hero in the locker room.
Lardarius Webb, the former Baltimore Ravens defensive back, said he’d do similarly for quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Pittsburgh writers are also calling for a more lenient punishment than suspension for Pouncey given the situation.
Fans plan to pay Pouncey’s fine
Rudolph suffered a concussion earlier this season on a nasty hit that left him unconscious against the Baltimore Ravens. And three Steelers left Thursday night’s game due to concussions, including receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson. Browns safety Damarious Randall was ejected for his hit on Johnson.
Pouncey was ready to prevent any more damage and protect his second-string QB at any cost. That’s old-school teammate football and Steelers fans, a tough group themselves, are ready to thank him for it.
The group started a gofundme in the early hours of Friday morning on the east coast and a few fans donated before the work day started. One called Pouncey a Pittsburgh legend for his actions.
Nothing happens in a vacuum. There are consequences for Pouncey’s actions. But when a player — especially a center — sees his own quarterback getting bashed in the head with his own helmet, what else is he to do but protect his teammate? The entire incident was over the line and created a continuous wild sequence of events.
The Steelers and Browns meet again in 16 days. In Pittsburgh.
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