Helmet-swinging episode not confined to Browns, Steelers
Former Colt DE Don Joyce did same thing in ’54 season
If you were watching the SteelersBrowns game Thursday night and turned it off early, you missed a brawl in the final seconds in which Browns defensive end Myles Garrett ripped Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet off and then hit him in the head with it.
Fox Sports announcer Joe Buck called it “one of the worst things I’ve ever seen on a professional sports field.”
Garrett, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey (who kicked Garrett in the head) and Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi were ejected after the ensuing brawl. Garrett was suspended Friday for at least the rest of the season. Pouncey received a three-game suspension, while Ogunjobi was banned for one.
Longtime Baltimore sports fans may remember a similar incident that happened with the Baltimore Colts in 1954 involving defensive end Don Joyce, who twisted the helmet off Los Angeles Rams linebacker Les Richter and hit him in the face with it. Sports writer and pro football historian Dan Daly pointed out the Colts incident on Twitter after the game Thursday night.
Richter required multiple stitches near his eye. According to a Baltimore Sun account at the time, Joyce was ejected and later fined by then-NFL Commissioner Bert Bell but not suspended. Joyce said that Richter had kneed him during a kickoff, which led him to retaliate.
Then-Colts President Don Kellett said: “I think Joyce was too kind. Richter first kneed Joyce in the groin. I would have hit him with a goal post, not a helmet.”
Said Bell: “We cannot condone this sort of thing, but there is no sense flying off the handle and condemning the boy too harshly. … We have all been angry one time or another and did things we were sorry for, so let us temper justice with reason.”
Joyce went on to become a wrestler in the offseason (not to mention a world champion with the Colts in 1958 and 1959). Richter went on to the NFL Hall of Fame.