In theory, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett could be prosecuted for assaulting Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph on Thursday night, by striking Rudolph with his own helmet. In theory, Garrett also could be sued.
When contemplating a lawsuit, three factors must be considered: liability, damages, and the defendant’s ability to satisfy the judgment. Unless all three are met, pursuing a civil action makes little sense.
Here, liability is obvious; the assault is caught on tape. Garrett also has the money to afford whatever verdict would be entered against him. The challenge will be proving damages; despite the violence of the hit absorbed by Rudolph, he wasn’t injured. Thus, at most, he’d be entitled to compensation for the split-second of fear and/or emotional distress he experienced while the helmet was swinging in his way. But what would that be worth? It’s arguably not worth the time and expense of finding out.
“The matter will be reviewed thoroughly,” Rudolph’s agent, Tim Younger, said on Twitter. That’s fine, but with no injury, there are no damages. With no damages, there’s no reason to file a lawsuit.