When it comes to Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, the conversation until he gets back on the field and starts producing again is going to center around what happened the last time he was on the field, and how he handled himself in his few moments in the public after that.
It’s a reality that he brought upon himself through his own actions. During a mid-November intradivisional game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Garrett struck a fellow player in the head with his own helmet, the incident taking place with just seconds to go on third and very long, with the Browns holding a two-possession lead.
It was one of the most shocking moments to happen on the field of play in NFL history, and prompted unprecedented action, with commissioner Roger Goodell stepping in and announcing that he would be indefinitely suspended.
That ultimately amounted to the remaining six games of the season before he was reinstated this offseason, soon after which he reiterated his accusation that the man he hit, Mason Rudolph, used a racial epithet toward him prior to hitting him.
That didn’t sit well, and he’s primarily received backlash because of it. Several national sports media figures have even encouraged Rudolph to file a defamation suit against him after revisiting the accusation in an ESPN interview.
It has since died down, though we don’t know what the conversation will be whenever football resumes. Supposedly, when that happens, we will see a new Garrett, who recently spoke to ESPN under quarantine for a short interview. “I’m just trying to be a better leader, a better man”, he said.
“I let down a lot of people with my actions from last season, but going into it knowing how much I’ve been through with my family, with my friends, even with multiple players, just to be able to sit down, talk to them, and just absorb some knowledge, I feel like things are just different now, not only on the field, but for me as a person”, he went on. “I feel like this will be a very positive year”.
On the football field, it certainly can be, as he remains one of the top young talents among edge defenders in the NFL. In the 10 games prior to his suspension, he recorded 10 sacks last season with 18 quarterback hits and two forced fumbles, as well as 29 tackles. He was a Pro Bowler in 2018 and was well on his way to his second.
The Browns return the same starting defensive line from a year ago, but they have bolstered it through free agency to add depth, most recently signing edge defender Adrian Clayborn to a two-year contract. They previously also signed Andrew Billings to play behind the starters along the interior.