On the eve of the Browns' rookie minicamp, Jim Brown spoke to scores of young, eager faces at a dinner in downtown Cleveland. The Pro Football Hall of Famer and legendary running back had a simple but powerful message.
"There's a standard that we set and it's been about winning and it'll stay about winning," new defensive end Myles Garrett said Friday afternoon, referencing Brown's address.
"Last year's gone. What are you gonna do with this year, what are you gonna do this time?"
The directive particularly resonated with Garrett, the freakishly athletic edge rusher and No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The former Texas A&M star is the centerpiece of a promising 10-man class that includes three first-round picks and five selections in the first two rounds.
The Browns officially opened rookie minicamp Friday, marking the first of a three-day session that'll welcome Garrett and dozens more to the rigors of professional football.
This weekend's minicamp will feature all 10 draft picks, 11 undrafted free agents, 17 tryout players and seven first-year members of the roster. In fact, 57 of the team's 90-man roster are entering either their first or second NFL season.
The Browns are optimistic Garrett and what executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown has described as a "core nucleus of young talent" can play a pivotal role in helping the franchise bounce back from 2016's 1-15 campaign and a string of disappointing seasons. "We're trying to build a group that is going to be together for a long time," Brown said. "For us, that's the really great thing about the last draft class, this draft class and the next one."
With the 2017 class fully on display, Garrett said Brown told the rookies there's no looking back.
"Nobody's the same," Garrett said. "Are you gonna make a name for yourself and force this team up like it never has been before, or let last year drag on your mind? Be great."