CLEVELAND — The indefinite suspension of Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was upheld last week by appeals officer James Thrash.
So Garrett must miss at least the rest of the 2019 regular season and playoffs after he struck Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph atop the head with Rudolph's helmet Nov. 14 in the Browns' 21-7 win on "Thursday Night Football."
But with the remorse Garrett has shown and the type of person the Browns know him to be, the franchise expects the NFL will reinstate him by the start of the 2020 season, a team source told the Beacon Journal on Sunday morning.
Browns owner Dee Haslam demonstrated her support for Garrett by wearing a winter hat with No. 95 emblazoned on it to Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.
In addition to the Browns' expectations for Garrett's return next season, ESPN and CBS Sports reported Sunday that Garrett's suspension is unlikely to cost him games in 2020.
ESPN's Adam Schefter cited unnamed league sources who said the NFL is hopeful and optimistic Garrett won't miss time next season as a result of his suspension. And CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora cited unnamed league sources who said there is no consideration at this point that Garrett's discipline should extend into 2020.
When the NFL suspended Garrett on Nov. 15, it announced he must meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell's office prior to a decision on his reinstatement.
According to Schefter's report, if Garrett's behavior is what the NFL hopes and his answers are accurate during his offseason meeting with the league, there's a strong chance he won't miss time next season.
La Canfora quoted an unnamed source explaining why the NFL and NFL Players Association wanted there to be an offseason meeting with Garrett as a condition of his reinstatement.
"That shouldn't be read as a threat that this will carry over into 2020," the source told La Canfora, "but given the level of violence that was displayed, it's important that he make the effort to check back in with the NFL and NFLPA and discuss things with them."
In addition to suspending Garrett, the NFL fined him $45,623. Losing six game checks will cost him another $1,139,911.76.
Garrett appeared in front of Thrash during his appeals hearing Wednesday in New York and accused Rudolph of using a racial slur before their fight broke out. Rudolph has denied the allegation.
"It's totally untrue," Rudolph told reporters Sunday after he was benched in the Steelers' 16-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. "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."
Jointly appointed and compensated by the NFL and NFLPA, Thrash upheld Garrett's suspension Thursday.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read his Browns coverage at www.beaconjournal.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByNateUlrich and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.