BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Browns rookie defensive end Myles Garrett returned to practice Thursday opening the door for him to make his NFL regular season debut Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Garrett had been sidelined since Sept. 6 after suffering a high ankle sprain when a teammate inadvertently stepped on his right ankle during practice leading up to the season opener.
“Ran around. Looked good. Looked like Myles,” head coach Hue Jackson said. “We will continue to evaluate, see where he is and kind of go from there, but it was good to have him back out there, running around, making plays and doing all of that. We will see where he is.”
Garrett participated in team drills according to Jackson which is a very good sign but the team also doesn’t want to take any unnecessary chances.
“I want to make sure that we cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s and talk to the medical staff about what the expectation would be of him and what we are going to do because he is a huge piece of our organization and our future,” Jackson said. “We want to be cautious but smart as we go through it. I think we are getting closer, like I said before, than we are further away. It was good to have him back out there and running around. We will see where that is over the next couple of days.”
According to linebacker Joe Schobert, Garrett’s presence on the field was noticed quickly.
“There was one time where he just came right off the edge, dusted the tackle and it would’ve been a sack if we were allowed to touch quarterbacks in practice,” Schobert said.
“We almost started to throw a little party to see him back out there,” cornerback Jason McCourty said. “We should have had him introduce himself to the defense again, but no, it’s a pleasure. Throughout training camp, just seeing what his ability is, you know he is a weapon for us. To see him back out at practice, I think our entire defense and team probably gets excited because we know the talent that he has.”
The return of Garrett could be a significant boost to the Browns’ defensive front that has registered just 6 sacks to go along with 7 additional quarterback hits and 18 tackles for loss through the first 3 games of the season.
“Huge,” Jackson said of Garrett’s potential impact. “He is a really good player. I think we know that. He would give us a lift obviously rushing the passer and doing those things. That would be a jolt to our football team.”
Garrett, who missed 2 games at Texas A&M as a junior with a left high ankle sprain, has missed the first 3 games of the season.
“He looks to be in good shape, but let’s make sure that we are in football shape and ready to play big-time football,” Jackson said. “Those are the discussions we have to have.”
What will determine if Garrett will play this week?
“I want to see what the pain tolerance is, if there is still pain and exactly how he feels,” Jackson said. “Watch the tape and make sure that the practice was what I thought it was for him and then get with our medical staff, as I just said, and go from there.”
The Browns selected Garrett with the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL draft.