Myles Garrett is well versed in the lore of Cleveland championships. Playing his entire career with the Browns and being the younger brother of former NBA player Sean Williams, the edge rusher is keenly aware of the difference between the Cavaliers team LeBron James lugged to the NBA Finals in 2007 and the 2016 squad that won it all after adding Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
Garrett used the NBA analogy when discussing the Browns' offseason upgrades that have raised expectations for the former NFL doormat that won its first postseason game of the millennium last season. Among several enhancements on defense this season, Cleveland added Jadeveon Clowney and Malik Jackson this offseason to boost the defensive line.
"I've got my Kyrie and my Love?" Garrett responded rhetorically during an interview with Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. "Well, hell, I have to prove that I'm LeBron first before anything. I have to prove that I'm the playmaker at all levels. Hell, he's top three in any debate that you have."
In four seasons with the Browns, Garrett has earned two Pro Bowls, one first-team All-Pro honor, 42.5 sacks, 152 tackles, and 83 QB hits. He's missed 13 games in his career due to injury, a suspension, and two last year due to COVID-19.
"[My friends say], 'It's not even talent. You've just got play the whole season. You've just got to be there and be available.' It's like, 'Yeah, I hear ya,'" Garrett said. "I feel like I have the talent to put out a hell of a year, one that will be remembered for a long time, especially here with the things we're doing or hope to do this year. If I can have the year they expect me to have and that I hope to have, then it will be remembered for a long time. It will be just what I'm hoping that I could've done the last two years and continue to do for the rest of my career."
Last season, Garrett was on a torrid pace, generating 9.5 sacks and 14 QB hits in the Browns' first nine games. Then he tested positive for COVID-19, which he says threw his whole season off.
"The guys who were in the talks to win DPOY, (T.J.) Watt and (Aaron) Donald, great players, but I was right among them before I was hit with COVID," Garrett said. "They didn't get it. So they were available. They were on the field, and they took care of themselves. That's on me for not doing that -- however I got it -- and I've got to make sure I'm available this year for my team, for the individual goals that I have and for whatever run we'll have in the playoffs."