Myles Garrett ready for 'greater success,' becoming a leader with Browns after 2019 suspension

Myles Garrett has put the actions of his last NFL game behind him.

Garrett, who was given an indefinite suspension last season after his on-field incident Week 11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, is committed to proving that such actions will never be seen from him again. He doesn't believe it reflects his identity as a player, and he's confident he'll show it in future performances. 

"My life is much bigger than one moment," Garrett said Thursday in a video interview with local reporters. "Me, the Browns and my teammates are going to look past that and go on to greater success. That will just be a small bump in the road."

Garrett, who signed a five-year extension Wednesday with Cleveland, is committed to becoming one of the best defensive players to ever play for the Browns. At 24 years old, he's already seventh on the franchise's all-time sack list, and before the suspension, Garrett had accrued 10 sacks in 10 games and was on pace to break the franchise single-season record of 14 sacks in a season from Reggie Camp.

As the No. 1 overall pick of 2017, Garrett has delivered the production the Browns expected in his first three NFL seasons. The one blemish, of course, has been the incident that shut down his 2019 season. Garrett is an irreplaceable talent, and the Browns defense just wasn't the same in the final six weeks of the season without him.

Garrett, who was reinstated by the NFL in February, doesn't want to let his teammates down again. He knows his new extension doesn't only signify how he's expected to be a constant presence in an opponent's backfield every Sunday — he also needs to be a leader.

The Browns signed Garrett to a five-year contract extension Wednesday and made him the highest-paid defensive player in the league. Cleveland will be home to Garrett's dominance and record-breaking potential through 2026, and his presence alone will make the Browns defense difficult to prepare for an opposing quarterback every Sunday.

"I'm just going to keep on playing my game," Garrett said. "I'm not going to worry about what people say or what they do. If somebody comes at me, I walk away, put my hands up or whatever I do to nullify the situation. I know my teammates will have my back to de-escalate and keep it straight to football."

Several Browns players and coaches have advocated their support for Garrett. Defensive coordinator Joe Woods has yet to coach Garrett in a practice, but he could tell through the Browns virtual offseason program that Garrett has moved on in a positive way and has shown all the proper leadership qualities to put the incident in the past.

"He is focused on being a good teammate," Woods said in a recent interview. "He has been in the meetings. He is trying to step up and take more of a leadership role. I definitely think he is moving in the right direction and has the right mindset."

Executive Vice President and General Manager Andrew Berry also instilled confidence in Garrett with the extension. 

"It would be remiss of me not to address the fact that we are choosing to do this after a season during which Myles was suspended," Berry said. "Myles has been accountable for his mistake, and we view the incident as well out of character. We don't believe one moment should define him based on how he has handled himself prior to and in the months after last year's incident. We are excited to ensure that Myles will stay in Cleveland for the foreseeable future."

Garrett made a mistake, and he wants to keep it at that. He has his sights set on making another run at Defensive Player of the Year in 2020 and helping push the Browns into the playoffs.

The best way for him to make a positive impact, however, is to be disciplined on the field. He's committed to that, too.

"I respect those around me who I have grown up with, played with and where I have earned my respect," Garrett said. "I'm just doing my best to play within the rules and play to the best of my ability."

Advertising