CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns Pro Bowl defensive end Myles Garrett was benched for the start of Saturday’s loss to New Orleans by coach Kevin Stefanski for an unspecified team violation, the latest twist in an odd season for the star.
Garrett wasn’t on the field for the Saints’ first series, and Stefanski revealed Monday that it was because he was being disciplined.
“Just a team thing,” Stefanski said during a Zoom call, without elaborating. “That was my decision.”
Stefanski benched starting safety Grant Delpit earlier this season for one play for a team violation.
Garrett has played much of the season with a shoulder sprain sustained when he flipped his Porsche while speeding after a practice in September.
He was on the field Saturday for the pregame toss as one of the team’s captains, but he stayed on the sideline when New Orleans got the ball. With end Jadeveon Clowney out with a concussion, rookie Alex Wright and Chase Winovich started.
Garrett wound up playing in 36 of 54 defensive snaps as the Browns (6-9) were beaten 17-10 and knocked out of playoff contention.
While it’s not unusual for players to be disciplined, the fact that Stefanski had to sit his best defensive player — and team leader — for any time in the season’s biggest game is a troubling sign for a franchise that has had 21 losing seasons in 24 years.
Garrett has played well, recording 13 1/2 sacks.
But he missed a game earlier this season after he crashed his 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo, veering off a rural road, hitting a fire hydrant and rolling his vehicle several times. Garrett sprained his left shoulder, strained his right biceps and had facial cuts and bruises. He may need offseason surgery on his shoulder.
Stefanski said he hasn’t spoken to Garrett yet about sitting out the final two games at Washington and Pittsburgh. The 26-year-old has insisted he will play the remaining games.