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News & Notes: Myles Garrett believes he's 'in the thick of it' for NFL Defensive Player of the Year

Garrett has steadily climbed up the league’s sack leaderboard — and hopes to finish the season in the No. 1 spot


With four games left, Myles Garrett is ready to not only help the Browns finish the regular season strong, but make one final push toward winning an award he's always had his eyes on.

Garrett is still a candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year with 12 sacks in 12 games this season. He sits tied for third in the league in sacks and has made remarkable strides to the top of the leaderboard since missing one game in Week 4 due to the shoulder and bicep injuries he sustained in a car accident in September. He has sacks in six of the last eight games — including multiple sacks in four of those games.

Garrett is 2.5 sacks behind New England's Matthew Judon and San Francisco's Nick Bosa for the league lead. Las Vegas edge rusher Maxx Crosby (11.5 sacks) and Kansas City DT Chris Jones (11 sacks) are also top candidates. 

But if Garrett emerges as the sack leader, he'll have an even stronger argument to win the award for the first time in his career.

"I would like to think that I'm in the thick of it," Garrett said Friday. "There are four games left, and there's no reason why I can't be at the top of the sack leaderboard. I'm going to keep on continuing to play at a high level and with high effort and give the most to these guys. At the end of the day, whatever is said and done, I gave it my all for my guys."

Regardless of what happens with the award, Garrett has certainly still received plenty of attention for building another impressive season. He leads all AFC edge rushers in Pro Bowl voting, which ends Thursday for fan voting.

"It feels like this year it is stacked all over the board with D ends who are playing at a very high level," Garrett said. "To lead that group, it means a lot. It's not guaranteed that I'm able to do that, especially coming off of the injury that I have. Being able to still come back, perform at a high level and help win games, all of that means a lot."

Check out photos of players and coaches working to prepare for the teams regular season game against the Baltimore Ravens

Browns accept Greg Knapp challenge

Stefanski opened his news conference Thursday with a message about accepting a league-wide stair challenge in honor of Greg Knapp, who spent 25 years coaching in the NFL but was tragically struck by a motorist while riding his bicycle and passed away in July 2021.

The Browns will join five other teams around the league in doing stair climbs in the stadium before Saturday's game, a tradition Knapp did before every game during his coaching career, to help raise funds and awareness for the dangers of distracted driving.

"I do want to make mention that the 49ers challenged us, and challenge accepted," Stefanski said. "Those who knew Knapper, a great, great football coach and a great man. I wasn't very close to Knapper, but if you are coaching quarterbacks, in the NFL, he is somebody who is like a god figure in the quarterback circles in how he coached quarterbacks. I am very close to a lot of people who were close to Knapper – (Bears tight ends coach) Clancy Barone, (former NFL head coach) Gary Kubiak, (linebackers coach) Jason Tarver and (defensive coordinator) Joe Woods coached with Knapper.

"A really special man who is gone too soon. We want to raise awareness for his fund and for his memorial."

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