BEREA, Ohio (WJW)— It’s been a season of redemption for Myles Garrett.
In his brief NFL career, the Cleveland Browns defensive end went from No. 1 pick to the NFL’s bad guy to the team’s choice for Walter Payton Man of the Year. During that time, he’s experienced three different head coaches, went nude for ESPN Magazine’s “Body Issue,” logged 42 sacks and battled COVID-19.
What a wild four years.
But let’s back up a bit. Garrett was suspended for the remainder of last season following the brawl when the Browns hosted the Steelers. In the final few seconds of the Nov. 14, 2019 game, Garrett hit Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with his own helmet. The incident played on what felt like a constant loop for days and landed Garrett the longest suspension for a single on-field incident in league history.
Garrett apologized, made a case for reinstatement and got back to work. He also made it very clear that he would not let this incident define his career. Afterall, behind this absolute beat of a defensive end is a poet, a dog dad and a fan of dinosaurs. So it was much more true to his character when he became the captain of the NFL Waterboys program, devoted to bringing clean drinking water to people around the world and founded by retired defensive end Chris Long.
“I always feel like I had a passion for helping give water to underprivileged countries, towns, everywhere, not just overseas but here, too. It happens everywhere in the world,” Garrett said. “When I entered the league, I had some maturing to do and some growing to do on the field. Once I was set in both walks of life, I could step up and take this kind of leadership role. Chris came to me before, but I wasn’t ready. Now that we’re both on the same page, it’s now my turn to right the ship and take the leap.”
Garrett’s performance continued at a high level on the field. He was tied for the most sacks in the league this season before he was diagnosed with coronavirus. Despite missing two games while fighting the virus, which he said, “Kicked his butt,” Garrett finished the regular season sixth in sacks with 12 and he was named to his second Pro Bowl.
But now there’s a new challenge for this NFL renaissance man. After beating the Pittsburgh Steelers for the Browns first playoff win since 1995, the team heads to Kansas City in the AFC Division Round on Sunday. The defending Super Bowl champions are led by former NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and one of the winningest coaches in league history Andy Reid.
“We have been the underdogs since the beginning of the season. Nobody thought that we would have a winning record. Nobody thought that we were going to get to the playoffs. Nobody thought that we were going to do anything in the playoffs,” Garrett said after the victory over the Steelers.
“We just have to keep on proving people wrong. That is what it is all about. Don’t hold yourself to other people’s standards. We know what we are trying to live up to, and we are going to keep on getting after it until we can.”