One of the first things Myles Garrett did after he was drafted first overall in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns was to appear in an ESPN commercial in which he was seen in an office setting, shredding a picture of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
While he has eight career sacks against the New York Jets, with his sack yesterday of Ben Roethlisberger, he has now recorded six against the Steelers in his career, tied for the second-most of any team with…the Chicago Bears, against whom earlier this year he had 4.5 in one game. Five of those sacks were of Roethlisberger, with one of Landry Jones (not Mason Rudolph).
The two have grown to have a mutual respect, the way former Baltimore Ravens edge rusher Terrell Suggs respected him. “I just have so much respect for that man”, Roethlisberger said of Garrett to Aditi Kinkhabwala after the game. “He’s such a good football player, and I told him to keep doing it the way he’s doing it. He does it the right way. And [I told him to] keep enjoying the game”.
He also, of course, joked that Garret could “keep the tombstone”, and that he’ll take the win. Garrett put up Halloween decorations in the yard of his house, depicting a tombstone for many quarterbacks he has sacked in his career. He also wore a Halloween costume before the game with a cape listing all of those names as well. The Pro Bowl edge rusher, however, shares the same respect for Roethlisberger.
“The man’s been great for a long time. He’s been great here for a long time. It’s tough”, he said of the loss at home, “but we’ll see him again, and we’ll get the chance to return the favor when he’s at his house. It hurts that we couldn’t protect the house, but his home isn’t safe either”.
Prior to the game, he talked about having to “send him off” the right way if this was to be Roethlisberger’s last game in Cleveland, his home state (he’ll have one more game in Cincinnati later in the season).
“He’s left a huge legacy in Pittsburgh and here”, Garrett said of Roethlisberger, who has won in Cleveland 12 times in his 18 years. “We’ve got to make sure that he doesn’t leave with a win, but you’ve got to respect what he’s done, and the greatness he’s had on the football field”.
With Roethlisberger at 39 and in his 18th season, it is widely anticipated that the 2021 season will be his last—which would of course be the reason that he never plays in Cleveland again. Garrett, on the other hand, is only in his fifth season, and still figures to have a long career ahead of him.
He’s on one of the best sack paces in the history of the game, and currently leads the league, already in double digits through eight weeks. But his team is just 4-4, with a divisional loss, and currently on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs.