A melee between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers late in their game Thursday night resulted in three ejections and calls for N.F.L. to stop Browns' defensive end Miles Gareth, who took off Styler's quarterback Mason Rudolf's helmet and then turned it on his head.
After the game, Gareth's own defender, Baker Mayfield, called the attack "irrefutable" and said of Gareth, "The reality will be stopped."
The brawl began with eight seconds left in Cleveland's 21-7 victory after Rudolf completed a pass and was wrapped by Gareth, who held and dragged Rudolph to the ground. Still on the grass, Rudolph first hooked on Gareth's helmet both continued to fight.
"I thought it was a pretty scary, pretty big league," Rudolph later said.
Gareth told reporters after the match that he regretted his behavior.
"I made a mistake and lost my cool," he said, adding: "What I did was stupid and I should not allow myself to slip like that.
Within seconds of the helmet attack, players from both benches poured onto the pitch. Not long after, Twitter became indignant, part of it from N.F.L. players, past and present.
"He's over the rest of the year," writes Des Bryant, a wide receiver who is currently a free agent.
Reggie Bush, the former running back, writes: "Throughout my footballing life, this may have been the craziest thing I've seen on the football field!" He also predicts that Gareth will be suspended for 30 years and added: "I hate to see this in our game, this is not about football!
In an interview on the pitch immediately after the match, Mayfield said that the passion for the Browns-Steelers rivalry does not justify the player losing control the way Gareth does. "I don't care whether we compete or not, we can't do it," Mayfield told Erin Andrews of Fox Sports. He added: "Threatening the other team is unforgivable. He knows that. I hope he does it now. "
The battle led to Gareth's expulsion; Browning projectile Larry Ogunobi, who knocked Rudolph to the ground after the defender reacted that his helmet was spinning; and Stevens center Maurkis Punchy, who punched and kicked Gareth after swinging his helmet.
Garrett, who was fined $ 52,639 for three personal fouls during the first month of this season, can expect a strong response from N.F.L. Earlier this year, the league stopped Oakland Raiders leader Vontase Burfict for the remaining 12 games of the season because of intentionally hitting another player's helmet and because Barfict repeatedly delivered illegal hits despite being fined and suspended for previous offenses.
Gareth said he would talk to his teammates on Friday. "I will address them all. I hurt my entire team, ”he said, adding,“ I don't know what the consequences will be.
Browns coach Freddie Kichans said he was embarrassed by the incident and could not predict what punishment the league could keep down.
"We have to take what they have to give," he said. "I've never seen him in my life. We wait and see. Miles is very upset about this.
Rudolf said after the game that he did not feel any ill effects from the impact of the helmet. But he was amazed at Garrett's behavior
"Where did the line cross?" Rudolph said. "Maybe when he takes my helmet off and uses it as a weapon."