BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Myles Garrett had to wait 4 extra weeks, but on Sunday he hopes to finally announce his presence with authority.
“It’s exciting,” Garrett said. “I’m ready to play, ready to show what I can do.”
A sack machine at Texas A&M for 3 years, the 6-foot-4, 275-pound Garrett hopes to use NFL quarterbacks for target practice.
“It’s like a fat guy’s touchdown,” Garrett said of getting a sack. “But whatever I can do to affect the game and just be a helping hand for this defense, if we can just help get a win on this field, I’ll do whatever I can, whatever that takes.”
Garrett is expected to provide the Browns, who have 9 sacks and 7 additional quarterback hits through 4 games, with plenty of punch.
“I think he will have a lot of impact,” defensive tackle Danny Shelton, who returns this week after missing a game due to a calf injury, said.
Garrett’s regular season debut had to be put on hold after he suffered a right high ankle sprain during practice on Sept. 6 when a teammate inadvertently stepped on him. He conceded that he’s not 100 percent as he returns, but as defensive coordinator Gregg Williams reminded everyone on Friday, no one this time of year really is.
“Am I at my peak? No, but it is good enough for me,” Garrett said. “I can move, I can run and I can bend, and if I can do that, then I can be out there and I can make a difference.”
The Browns considered playing Garrett last week before they lost 31-7 to the Cincinnati Bengals but instead chose to give him an extra week to recover.
“They were just caring for my safety,” Garrett said. “They want the best from me and they want me to go out there and make an impact but they don’t want me to go out there, make an impact and then miss me for a week or 2 so they’re just looking out for my future and I know it was a smart decision.”
Garrett, who resisted the urge to play last week, missed 2 games as a junior last year at Texas A&M with a left high ankle sprain but he played through pain causing some to question his motor during the draft process. The Browns erred on the side of caution with this injury, which Garrett described as not as severe, to get the pass rusher stronger.
“There are is always going to be issues of bumps, bruises, sprains,” Williams said. “He responded very well to that, and I think it was the correct thing that they did on looking out for the player last week. He believes and he probably could have played last week, but now, hopefully, he will be more productive and it is a much more healthy way to continue on.”
While it’s expected that Garrett’s return will be a shot in the arm for a franchise that has been mired in 2 decades of misery and 1-19 since the start of the 2016 season, head coach Hue Jackson hopes Garrett doesn’t overextend himself and try to do too much.
A franchise savior he is not expected to be be.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on Myles,” Jackson, who plans to keep him on a “pitch count” Sunday, said. “Our football team has to play well, but can he help? Yes. He is a really good player, but we all have to play well. Then he has to do his part in the game and do his job. Hopefully, defensively, we will be able to do what we want to accomplish on defense.”
While everyone, including Garrett, is excited to see what he’ll be able to bring to the Browns after racking up 32 1/2 sacks in 2 seasons at Texas A&M Jackson doesn’t want Garrett focused solely on sacks.
“It is not about if you go out there and have two sacks or three sacks,” Jackson said. “That is not what this is about. This is about winning the game and playing the best you can play for as long as you can play.”
It starts with 1. For Garrett, a sack. The Browns, a win.
Cleveland would like one of each Sunday.