(Reuters) - Harlequins fullback Mike Brown's 16-year stint at the west London club will end in disappointment after he was handed a six-week suspension on Wednesday for stamping on an opponent, ruling him out of the rest of the season.
Brown was shown a red card in the 44th minute of the Harlequins' 48-46 win against the Wasps on Sunday after he trampled on the head of Wasps hooker Tommy Taylor, who had held him in a ruck.
The 35-year-old, whose ban was reduced from 12 weeks because of a clean disciplinary record, accepted the charge and will miss games against the Leicester Tigers, Bath Rugby, Sale Sharks and Newcastle Falcons, as well as two additional fixtures, including the Premiership final if Harlequins qualify.
Harlequins are fourth in the standings and in contention for a playoff spot.
"The Panel reviewed extensive video footage which included numerous angles and speeds and heard direct evidence from the player as to his actions and intentions," the Rugby Football Union (RFU) said in a statement.
"Having considered the totality of the evidence the Panel was satisfied that whilst this was a stamp to the head, it was not deliberate.
"The Panel would encourage supporters of the game to avoid viewing this as nothing more than a brief video on social media which does not capture the full nature of the incident."
Brown, who won 72 England caps between 2007-18, is Harlequins' record appearance holder, having played over 350 games since his debut in 2005, winning the Premiership in 2011–12.
He will leave the club this summer to join the Falcons.
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)