Myles Garrett's indefinite ban upheld; Maurkice Pouncey now suspended 2 games

Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett's indefinite suspension has been upheld and Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey's ban has been reduced to two games following appeals, the NFL announced Thursday.

The Garrett decision, made by appeals officer James Thrash, means he will be suspended without pay for at least the remainder of the 2019 season. Garrett will have to meet with the commissioner's office before being reinstated.

With seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of last Thursday's game, Garrett ripped off Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph's helmet and clubbed him in the head with it.

Garrett's suspension, which will be at least six games, is the longest in NFL history for a single on-field incident.

A source confirmed to ESPN that Garrett also was fined $45,623.

Pouncey initially had been given a three-game suspension last week for punching and kicking Garrett during the brawl, but appeals officer Derrick Brooks reduced the ban by a game while upholding a $35,096 fine.

He will still miss the Browns-Steelers rematch on Dec. 1.

Browns general manager John Dorsey issued a statement later Thursday reiterating that the team will continue to support Garrett.

"As we've consistently stated, our organizational support for Myles will continue," Dorsey said. "He is a man of high character and unquestionable integrity. He was open and honest with us about the incident from the start. He has taken accountability for his actions on Thursday night and this situation will not define him. As an organization, our focus going forward remains on the task-at-hand, which is preparing for the Miami Dolphins."

Browns coach Freddie Kitchens echoed Dorsey in his support of Garrett.

"I don't question Myles' character at all, the type of person he is," Kitchens said Thursday on his radio show. "He's never wavered with his character. I'll always support Myles Garrett without wavering one bit, just like the organization."

During Garrett's appeal hearing in New York on Wednesday, Garrett alleged that Rudolph directed a racial slur at him just prior to the brawl, sources told ESPN's Josina Anderson and Adam Schefter.

Rudolph has denied the accusation, with a Steelers spokesman and Rudolph's lawyer releasing statements saying the quarterback did not use a racial slur.

"This false allegation was never asserted by Garrett in the aftermath of the game, never suggested prior to the hearing, and conspicuously absent in the apology published by the Browns and adopted by Garrett," said Rudolph's attorney, Timothy M. Younger. "The malicious use of this wild and unfounded allegation is an assault on Mason's integrity which is far worse than the physical assault witnessed on Thursday. This is reckless and shameful. We will have no further comment."

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Thursday that the league looked into Garrett's allegations that Rudolph used a racial slur "and found no such evidence."‬

Garrett stood by his allegations in a statement posted on his Twitter account.

"I was assured that the hearing was space that afforded the opportunity to speak openly and honestly about the incident that led to my suspension," Garrett said. "This was not meant for public dissemination, nor was it a convenient attempt to justify my actions or restore my image in the eyes of those I disappointed.

"I know what I heard. Whether my opponent's comment was born out of frustration or ignorance, I cannot say. But his actions do not excuse my lack of restraint in the moment, and I truly regret the impact this has had on the league, the Browns and our devoted fans."

On Wednesday, Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi's one-game suspension for shoving Rudolph in the back and to the ground was upheld by Thrash.

Information from ESPN's Jake Trotter was used in this report.