BEREA, Ohio — Browns coach Freddie Kitchens believes the fan who punched Myles Garrett was lucky.
“I was glad the guy ran,” Kitchens cracked Monday as Cleveland returned from its bye weekend.
As the Browns began their break last week, Garrett was driving in downtown Cleveland when a fan pulled alongside him and asked for a photograph. Garrett told police he asked the man to wait while he was on the phone but then got punched.
Richard Perez of Strongsville, Ohio, fled the scene in his car but another witness got his license plate and provided it to authorities.
The 6-foot-4, 270-pound Garrett was not injured and even joked on Twitter that the man needed to “put your legs into it might have actually made me flinch.”
Kitchens, though, wasn’t kidding when he said Garrett deserved better and that he showed uncommon restraint in not pursuing the attacker.
“It says something about his character, of course,” Kitchens said. “Myles has tremendous character.”
Kitchens added that the incident was a good reminder to players to be careful in public.
“It is sad that we have to talk about things like that, but we always stress for our guys to be careful. But who could ever see something like that coming?” he said. “You see guys all the time and you see people all the time that are wanting to take pictures or get autographs and things like that. Usually, the other part of it gets reported, right? The guy that won’t spend time taking a picture or it is rowdy signing autographs. And then that guy becomes what? He is not really ‘fan friendly.’
“You hardly ever see the other side of this, which is just sad that somebody would take advantage of it like that, especially with a guy like Myles.”