DE Myles Garrett (12.10.20)

DE Myles Garrett:

On what it means being named the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year means to him, given how his 2019 season ended: 

“To me, this has nothing to do with what happened last year. This is fully focused on this year and what I have been able to do on and off the field as a teammate and as a leader in Waterboys and on the Cleveland Browns. I can’t do it without the guys here and the coaches, as well as (former NFL DE) Chris Long and the other members of the Waterboys foundation. The things I get to do on my own, I have only been blessed to be able to do that because of loving parents and friends who keep me motivated. It is really an honor to be in the same breath as someone like Sweetness and to be up for an award like that. That is something you always aspire to achieve. I am just trying to keep this kind of momentum going for us.”

On if he finds satisfaction knowing he has been able to do things off the field to show the type of person he is, especially after what happened last season: 

“It was never going to deter me, shake my spirit or take me off of the path that I have been on and I was on to go. I always wanted to do these kinds of things, and nothing is going to change that.”

On how he became involved with Waterboys: 

“I had been personally motivated, me and my mother, trying to get water to impoverished countries since I was in high school. It just so happened when I got to the NFL, Chris Long reached out to me about it. He had watched me play, he liked my play style and he felt like I would be a good match for what he was trying to do and eventually lead this thing. It just happened to work out pretty well. He found me on social media, and we naturally had good chemistry and connected. We both wanted the same things, and here we are.”

On previously saying he considered retirement during the offseason and who or what influenced him the most during that time on his decision to return: 

“Just my family. I keep my circle pretty small, and I keep them close. Just talking to them and asking questions on how to move on, how to do better and how to come back and just telling me there was nothing wrong with the man I was before and just have to continue to be that. Do not let that shake your faith or the plan that God has for you. I was set on a good path, starting early on with my parents and have kept that going with me as a person. I have been blessed with great coaches and great teammates who have kind of shared those ideals and been willing to put up with me and sometimes a little bit of my silence. I have been trying to speak up more and be better, and take on that leadership role on and off the field. Just do what I can, be where I can and be where my feet are, but when I have a chance to branch out and help people and be a positive influence, I do it any time I can.”

On if anyone in particular influenced him to be more of a vocal leader this year on and off the field: 

“I have just heard it enough where it was like I have to make a change. I heard it even since high school and college. ‘You have to be more of a vocal leader.’ I have always been more of I let my play speak for itself. I could not really understand what more they needed out of me. That excitement or that vocality, if you will, I did not really understand how important it was until I was around Kirko (Packers LB Christian Kirksey) and Demario (Saints LB Demario Davis), the leaders like that who really got guys going willing to go out there and lay it all on the line. I am never going to be that good at leading and speaking as they are because it is just some are really born with it or some it just comes naturally. I have just been willing to say what I have to say at any time and willing to lead my guys through thick and thin.”

On if Long has set an example for him or who else has set an example for him with community work: 

“I am pretty sure I was there when he did win. I think was sitting down at his table when he did win it. He is the example. Sweetness is the example. (Texans DE) J.J. Watt is the example. You have a lot of people who have done great things for their communities, for their teams and for their hometowns that do not get the recognition, but it is not about that. It is not about being honored or recognized and praised for what you are doing. It is just about doing it. You do not have to have your name called. You do not have to have your name on a banner or hung up or anything. It is just how you live your life. That is it. It is the love and the actual kindness that you have in your heart that you can’t really show. You will never be able to explain to people that this is not for show and that you are not trying to put this out so you can get credit. This is not a homework assignment. This is not a test. You are not trying to show that ‘I am holier than thou.’ You are doing it because it comes back to this is who I am, this is who I was raised to be and this is the kind of world that I envision for others. I am just trying to do that.”

On if he feels like he increased talent-wise in the past year, given his game-changing plays this year:

“It is up for your interpretation. I can only go out there and out my best foot forward each Sunday, and the season is not over yet. I have a lot of time to keep on improving, keep on making those game-breaking plays and being a difference-maker out there. I can’t do it without the other guys in the facility and the coaches putting me in a position to make those plays.”

On if he is playing his best season yet:

“When I was in high school, I had like 22 sacks, if that counts for anything.”

On QB Baker Mayfield’s postgame comment about fans needing to change their expectations for the Browns and what the standards for the Cleveland Browns are today:

“I guess it would just be laying it all on the line. We are not going to back down against anybody. We are going to be gritty. We are going to be grimy. We are going to be tough. We are going to go out there, and we are going to try to run the ball down your throat. We are going to mix it up. We are going to try and come at you and attack in different ways on offense and on defense. We are going to try and get after you as a quarterback, and we are going to try and stop the run and try to swarm you. It is not about the record. We want to have success. That is obvious. Every team wants to have success, but it is about going out there and achieving the things that you want to do every Sunday. Right now, we are doing that, but we have to continue playing together. That has been the difference of this year. We are playing together and having a better cohesion as a unit and less penalties, and that is really driven us to make those big plays on all three phases.”

On excitement to be playing back-to-back primetime games and if the team is ready for the bigger stage:

“I think so. We have been there a couple of times this year and last year. Now, we just have to go out there and do it. I do not think it is really any different than just playing ball on the practice field, especially with COVID and the pandemic. It is not going to be as many fans and can’t see anybody unless watching you on TV. You know it is there, but you block all that out and you are just worried about the people in front of you and the people next to you.”

On what goes through his mind when watching defenders being unable to take down Ravens QB Lamar Jackson:

“College. I think we unleashed this beast upon the NFL. Playing him at Louisville in the (Music City) bowl game, his first game was against us, and we were told that he was just some wide receiver that was going to move to quarterback, and he ended up one of the most dynamic football players we have seen in quite a long time. I just kind of flash back to that, and now, we that we have to deal with it. We have to find a way to contain this guy and stop him. It has been tough for every team to do that, but have to find a way.”

On if he remembers Jackson ever taking a big hit and how frustrating is it to not get a hit on the QB when close to it:

“He is so slippery. He is illusive when he is out in the open field, but when he is in the pocket, he never takes one of those shots where he does not see you at all. He is never completely unaware of your presence. He kind of ignores it. He is like, ‘Ah, I can still make a play.’ You really just have to shoot your shot. This guy is going to make you miss on a few and you are going to make those plays, but some of those, he is one of the best for a reason. Last year’s MVP.”

On his ability to make game-changing plays this year while decreasing his penalties from previous seasons:

“I feel like that has been kind of a controversy these last couple of years of how they have been changing the rule of how far you want your defender taking a shot on the quarterback – two steps, three steps, four steps. Me, I feel like if I am close enough and if I am already leaning into the tackle and I am two steps away, I am going to shoot me shot. Maybe he pumps the ball, he brings it back in and I force a fumble. Those kind of things where you are leaning in, you are not thinking about that and you are just thing about the play. Now, I have been just trying to keep my head up and just get the ball out. You can’t get a penalty if you keep your chest up and you are just trying to go for the ball. Now, it is just being smart about it and getting one for your team, not just completing the sack and completing the play.”

On if it was something he consciously worked on this season:
“Yeah, it is a more important play for us to take the ball away than to just have the sack.”

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