It was the biggest moment of Myles Garrett's football life, and the former Texas A&M defensive end couldn't find his phone.
So the Browns, who kicked off the 2017 NFL Draft on Thursday night by selecting Garrett with the first-overall pick, called his mother, Audrey, to inform him of the good news.
"My phone kind of disappeared throughout the night," said Garrett, who watched the draft from his home in Arlington, Texas, "and I finally got it back."
Surrounded by family and friends, Garrett took the call from Sashi Brown, Cleveland's executive vice president of football operations.
"I knew it was that time," he said. "They hadn't announced it yet, but I knew it was coming."
Indeed, it was Garrett all along.
Widely viewed as the best overall prospect in this year's draft class, he amassed 31 sacks and 37 tackles for loss in three seasons at Texas A&M and proved as much in March at the league's annual scouting combine, where he displayed a jaw-dropping combination of speed, athleticism and power.
Almost two months later, a long-awaited call from inside Berea lifted a weight off his shoulders.
"It finally came to fruition. I can actually know where I'm going and know who I'm going up against, know the schedule," he said. "Now, it's time to put in that work so I can be prepared to go against the best."
Garrett will join a new-look Browns defense led by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who has already started to put his stamp on the unit with offseason workouts underway.
Garrett will be expected to help a defense that finished second-to-last in total sacks and 31 of 32 teams in total defense. Cleveland, though, has started to assemble a number of pieces to change that dynamic.
"They picked me because they think they see something in me. They know that I can help them rebuild and turn this program around," he said. "That's the mindset that we have to have. Starting next year, we can put the pieces together. Not only the players, but with a mindset that we can actually do this. I know that the players there have that same mindset. I'm going to keep that feeling contagious."
Garrett joins a cast that includes cornerback Joe Haden, linebacker Jamie Collins (the former Patriot who re-signed with Cleveland this past January), 2015 first-round draft pick and nose tackle Danny Shelton and linebacker Christian Kirksey, who led the team in tackles last year.
Haden, who was the team's first-round pick in 2010, spoke highly of Garrett last week.
"I just feel like he'll be an immediate impact player," Haden said, "and I just feel like he'll be a guy that we could have rushing the passer for years to come."
Before Garrett hung up the phone to celebrate, he spoke to head coach Hue Jackson.
"He was like, 'I told you that I wouldn't leave you hanging. I told you that you were my guy,'" Garrett said.
"That made my night. Now I'm just ready to go to work."
The Cleveland Browns draft Myles Garrett first overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.
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