CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns are preparing for their final regular season game, a win-and-get-in playoff situation against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, and they’ll be led by the disruptive defensive end Myles Garrett as Chief of Staff Callie Brownson steps into another coaching role for the game.
Head coach Kevin Stefanski announced on Friday that Garrett will be Sunday’s Game Captain, a designation not typically announced ahead of game day.
While Garrett has a history with the Steelers, and their backup quarterback Mason Rudolph—who will get the start against the Browns Sunday, Stefanski wanted to be clear that the decision to name Garrett had nothing to do with past incidents.
“I don’t want that to be misconstrued. It’s a big game so I’m sending the big guy out there but it’s in no way a call back to anything previously so I just want to make sure that’s clear,” Stefanski said.
Stefanski said every week he looks to see which players haven’t been a Game Captain and since Garrett hadn’t and it is an important game, they “might as well send Myles out there.”
Wide receiver Jarvis Landry reiterated Stefanski’s point and said that the past has nothing to do with Garrett being named Game Captain.
“Nobody’s in here thinking about last year,” Landry said. “We’re just excited that a guy that’s a true Cleveland Brown is going to lead us on the field on Sunday.”
Garrett said that he wanted to be a captain for a different game but settled on the last game of the season several weeks ago.
“I wanted to be the captain for the Cowboys game, me being from Dallas, but that kind of slipped coach’s mind,” Garrett said.
When he wasn’t named captain for the Cowboys game, Garrett was asked which game he wanted to be captain in and he said “the last one.”
Garrett has been recovering from lasting effects of COVID-19 in the recent weeks and had previously said he was doing breathing treatments to work on his wind.
Stefanski is confident in Garrett being back to his usual disruptive self on Sunday.
“He’s right there. He’s healthy, he’s working through it,” Stefanski said.
And though Garrett is the Game Captain on Sunday, Stefanski said that he’s not the only one determined to get the team into the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
“I think the whole team is determined. We are well aware of what's at stake here and Myles has been a great leader for this team. He does it in his actions, he does it with his words,” Stefanski said. “He’s just an important part of what we’re trying to get done and he understands that I’m counting on him.”
In addition to naming Garrett Game Captain, Stefanski also announced that wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea will be out for Sunday’s game and Brownson will step in to fill his role on the sidelines.
Brownson previously stepped in when tight ends coach Drew Petzing missed the Jacksonville Jaguars game as his wife gave birth to the couple’s first child.
When Brownson filled in for Petzing, she became the first interim female positional coach in NFL history.
Landry praised Brownson on Friday and said they’re happy to have her filling in.
“She’s one of the reasons why that whole entire building goes the way that they go and I know she’s excited about it,” Landry said. “I know she’s going to be able to detail it, make sure we’re doing the right things out there, getting the right personnel in the game and having the awareness that she has on the sideline to be able to get her job done and make sure we’re doing ours.”
Brownson will have a roster of receivers back in action as she takes the reigns with Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge all cleared from the reserve/COVID-19 list after missing last week's game.
The Browns will, however, be down rookie offensive lineman Nick Harris, who was ruled out with a knee injury. Wyatt Teller (ankle), Sione Takitaki (ankle), Tae Davis (ankle) and Kendall Lamm (illness) are listed as questionable for Sunday's game.
Star cornerback Denzel Ward will miss Sunday's game after being placed on the reserve COVID-19 list, as well as Malcolm Smith, Harrison Bryant, Andrew Sendejo and B.J. Goodson.