INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indianapolis Colts almost assuredly would find themselves shorthanded if an opposing player treated quarterback Jacoby Brissett in the same manner Cleveland’s Myles Garrett treated Pittsburgh’s Mason Rudolph in Thursday night’s game.
Ryan Kelly probably would be facing NFL discipline. Ditto, Quenton Nelson. And Mark Glowinski.
Kelly, the Colts’ veteran center, acknowledged things occasionally get chippy during a game.
“There’s s*** that goes on all the time, shoving matches, things like that,” he said Friday. “But that, that was just malicious. I mean, it was pretty unreal.”
To recap, Garrett hit Rudolph and pulled him to the ground in the closing seconds of Cleveland’s 21-7 victory. Rudolph grabbed at Garrett’s helmet as he tried to get Garrett off of him, and appeared to make contact with Garrett in a kicking motion. Garrett got to his feet and pulled Rudolph up by his helmet. He then ripped Rudolph’s helmet off and eventually swung it and clubbed Rudolph in the head.
That led to Steelers’ center Maurkice Pounecy intervening and throwing several punches at Garrett.
Kelly insisted he “understood and condoned” Pouncey’s retaliatory behavior. He took it a step further.
“If someone’s going to take Jacoby’s helmet off and try to beat the s*** out of him with it, I’m going to beat the s*** out of that guy,” he said.
If you don’t, Kelly quickly added, “what message are you sending to the rest of the team? So I get it.
“It’s like a bar fight. If someone’s beating the s*** out of your brother, you (do something about it).”
Nelson admitted he’s never seen anything escalate to that level during his playing days. He, too, understood Pouncey’s reaction.
“I don’t think you can show restraint in that scenario,” Nelson said, adding he “would have to be in the moment” to really know how he’d react.
Glowinski called the melee “embarrassing” for the NFL. But again, it’s clear he wouldn’t hesitate to come to the defense of Brissett, or any teammate for that matter.
“In my state of mind, if I see something like that, something even worse could have happened where you just try to take the player out for doing something as silly as that,” he said.
The NFL’s discipline was swift and severe.
Garrett, arguably the Browns’ top player, was suspended indefinitely without pay; at least for the rest of the regular season and postseason. Pouncey was suspended three games and Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi one game. The Browns and Steelers each were fined $250,000.
Frank Reich addresses his players every Saturday night regarding how to conduct themselves during a game. He stresses discipline and self-control. The Colts generally are among the NFL’s least-penalized teams.
“One of the areas we cover is fighting, retaliation. ‘Let’s not be that guy,'” he said. “Our guys are pros. We have the kind of guys we want representing us and themselves and the Horseshoe.”
Even so, it’s not a stretch to imagine Reich understanding if one or more of his offensive linemen stepped up and defended Brissett for an egregious hit by a defender. Remember, Reich’s NFL career includes 13 years and 118 games as a backup quarterback.
The magnitude of the Browns-Steelers brawl probably will convince Reich to address the situation with the team.
“Just because it was such an extreme example,” he said. “If it was just a normal fight, probably not. But this was something I think that none of us had ever seen to this extreme on a football field. And there’s no place for it.
“If fact, I said something to Chris (Ballard) today (that) at some point we have to talk about that kind of thing as a team because that was bad.”