The NFL has suspended Browns defensive end Myles Garrett without pay indefinitely following his brutal attack on Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph, the league announced on Friday.
Garrett's indefinite suspension is at a minimum for the remainder of the regular season and postseason. He must meet with the commissioner's office before a decision is made on his reinstatement, and he was fined an additional amount, the NFL said.
"Garrett violated unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules, as well as fighting, removing the helmet of an opponent and using the helmet as a weapon," the league said in a statement.
The suspensions come after Garrett planted Rudolph in the turf at FirstEnergy Stadium Turf in the final seconds of Thursday night's game. Following a brief tussle with the quarterback, Garrett ripped Rudolph's helmet off and swung it at him, striking him in the head. Multiple players threw punches in retaliation and three, including Garrett, were ejected from the game.
Garrett released a statement on Friday afternoon apologizing to Rudolph, the Browns and the fans for his actions.
"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," he said.
"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."
The Steelers and Browns have each been fined $250,000. Cleveland's Larry Ogunjobi has been suspended without pay for one game and fined an additional amount for unnecessary roughness for his role in the fight. Pittsburgh's Maurkice Pouncey received a three-game ban and additional fine. The suspensions can be appealed under the collective bargaining agreement.
The NFL reviewed all players involved in the incident for possible suspensions. The league said other players could be disciplined for their roles in the incident, including those who left the bench "to enter the fight area."
Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam released a statement on Garrett's suspension and called his attack on Rudolph "unacceptable."
"We are extremely disappointed in what transpired last evening at the end of our game. There is no place for that in football and that is not reflective of the core values we strive for as an organization. We sincerely apologize to Mason Rudolph and the Steelers," the owners said.
"Myles Garrett has been a good teammate and member of our organization and community for the last three years but his actions last night were unacceptable. We understand the consequences from the league for his actions."
Steelers president Art Rooney II also issued a statement on the brawl.
"As an organization, we are disappointed with what occurred last night near the end of the game against the Cleveland Browns. The actions of the players involved were not something that should be part of any football game," he said.
"Our players, coaches and everyone in the Steelers organization understand that we must always maintain composure, no matter what happens. After a hard-fought game between two rivals, it is a shame that the game ended that way."
Garrett's act is one of the most violent in NFL history. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield called the incident "inexcusable" in his post-game interview, while players and fans were left in shock.
The NFL reviewed all players involved in the incident for possible suspensions. The longest suspension for a single on-field incident in NFL history is five games, which Titans defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth received in 2006 for stomping on Cowboys center Andre Gurode's face. It took 30 stitches to close Gurode's wounds.