Soon after he was drafted with the first-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, edge rusher Myles Garrett was asked about which quarterback he was most looking forward to seeing on the field. He picked Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, of whom he said, “I’m going to try to take him down”.
Garrett said that he had been watching Roethlisberger for a long time (after all, he’s been playing football for a really long time), and said that he was looking forward working against Pittsburgh’s offensive line to sack their most valuable commodity.
The linemen really got a kick out of that, but by the end of the season Garrett never did get his opportunity to go after Roethlisberger. The rookie suffered an ankle injury that kept him out of the first several games of the season, and the Browns opened the year hosting the Steelers.
By the time they faced each other again, Garrett was there, but Roethlisberger was not. It was the season finale and the Steelers had all but secured their playoff seeding, which prompted them to rest about half a dozen starters on either side of the ball.
The Browns will once again play host to the Steelers in the season opener this year, so he shouldn’t have to wait long for his next opportunity to get after Pittsburgh’s quarterback. “Oh thank god”, he told Cleveland reporters recently.
When asked if he still stood by his original comments of wanting to “chop him down”, Garrett said, “absolutely. I’m a man of my word, so hopefully I get to meet him on the field and off the field”. The tail end of that comment might sound a little threatening, but I’m sure he just wants to give him a big hug.
For what it’s worth, he also plans on going after his own quarterback, Baker Mayfield, whom the Browns drafted first-overall this year. “You’ve got to kind of show him how things are, show him the ropes a little bit”, he said. “Once he comes out stronger and better then we’ll know he’ll be ready for the grind and the bright lights”.
Garrett ending up starting nine of 11 games during his rookie season, during which he recorded seven sacks, one forced fumble, a pass defensed, and 31 tackles. He did record a sack against the Steelers in the season finale, but of course that was against Landry Jones.
The sack came on something of a jailbreak, with the Browns rushing five. But it’s worth keeping in mind that David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey were not playing. Garrett got around Alejandro Villanueva at left tackle and Jones couldn’t step up into the pocket due to interior pressure.
The defender was able to pop the ball out, producing that previously mentioned one fumble, which was scooped out of the air by Caleb Brantley. Cleveland ended up going three-and-out, but the fumble occurred with the Steelers on the Browns’ 32-yard line at the end of the first half, which likely prevented a scoring opportunity.