BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Cleveland Browns media personality Matt Wilhelm apologized Friday for comments he made on the team’s daily radio show regarding rookie defensive end Myles Garrett self-reporting a concussion on Oct. 24.
“I brought negative light upon the Cleveland Browns who have enough adversity to deal with in trying to win football games on the field, and it’s been a distraction. I never meant to do so,” Wilhelm said at the beginning of Friday’s show.
“I apologize to Myles Garrett. This is never an indictment upon him. I think that the brain is the most important organ in the body and you do have to do everything you can to protect that by all means, and I just think that it’s an opportunity for me to get educated as the rules are ever-changing in this league…I commend him for that and I apologize for the distraction to the Cleveland Browns and to Myles Garrett.”
Wilhelm, an All-American linebacker and member of Ohio State’s 2002 national championship team, played 8 seasons in the NFL. His controversial comments regarding Garrett came during a show that aired on Oct. 25.
“I find myself questioning it,” Wilhelm said. “I’m an old school guy and I know there are former professional athletes that played in an era of football that I could’ve never imagined playing in with the head trauma and the issues that we see individuals dealing with….but I don’t find myself just going ‘Trainer! Trainer!’ and walking into the training room and going ‘I have a headache. The lights seem very bright and I’m having blurred vision.’ To the point where (they) go ‘whoa, those are three of the top four concussion symptoms, let’s get you evaluated.'”
Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, unsolicited, expressed his anger over what Wilhelm said during his Friday press conference upon hearing about Garrett’s reaction to them, which was written by Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com Thursday.
“It really pissed me off when somebody questions whether a kid has a concussion or not and I’m being very truthful. And any of you in here really want to piss me off, okay? That’s stupid and it’s a good thing I wasn’t in the building when all that went down,” Williams said.
“Myles Garrett is a very, very, very tough human being and the fact that he played through a bang upside the head and it didn’t affect him until a few days later, there’s never a question in my mind that that young man wants to play, can play and will play and that’s just one of the things that goes on in our game, especially nowadays when it’s — you saw last night, you know? Russell (Wilson) is rubbing his jaw and they make him go over there and there’s nothing wrong with him, but that’s good.
“Back in the old days it just didn’t happen. I think it’s great. There’s no residual with him. He’s sharp as a tack. He’s practiced very, very well, was upset that he couldn’t play, but that’s how we go about doing things and that was the right thing to do.”
Garrett, who has said repeatedly that he won’t take unnecessary risks when it comes to brain trauma, appreciated the support from Williams.
“I’m just glad that he has my back. He’s my coach, he’s my guy and I’m glad he stands behind me at all times,” Garrett said Friday.
Garrett, who leads the team with 4 sacks in just 3 games played, was forced to remain state-side while the Browns traveled to London where they lost to the Vikings 33-16 but will be back in the starting lineup this week in Detroit.
“It’s gone. That’s what the extra time was for. That’s why they held me back from London, it was just the smarter plan of action,” Garrett said. “Me to play that game, it could’ve risked something more than it needed to be, so just hanging back and getting my body right, doing more treatment on my ankle, making sure that’s as close to 100 percent as it can be, that was just the smarter bet than going in there and maybe damaging myself and having things linger all season.”