This is all spot on. Garrett would probably fare better in the courts than with the NFL. In Ohio, the important pars of a self-defense claim are:
- that the defendant was not at fault in creating the situation - pretty obvious that Rudolph was the initiator, even most Rudolph defenders admit he started it but claim that doesn't matter
- that the defendant had a bona fide belief that he was in danger and force was necessary to escape bodily harm - a person pulling on your helmet, kicking you in the groin, then charging at you while his associate held you by the collar would definitely count as a bonafide danger that required force
- and that the defendant did not violate their duty to retreat or avoid the danger - initially Garrett was unable to retreat because Rudolph was holding his helmet, then once Garrett got to his feet he started to back away while being held by DeCastro when Rudolph charged him and grabbed him
You can probably add-in the fact that Pouncy was standing a few feet away, ready to pounce on Garrett to the case that it was a bonafide threat and force was required. No way any prosecutor would touch this case. Garrett was the one initially attacked while he was outnumbered, he did try to retreat, but he was restrained from retreating by associates of the attacker. In the eyes of the NFL the fact the Rudolph started it was moot but in the eyes fo the law that is paramount.