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Myles Garrett serves as lesson in accountability after miscommunication leads to minor discipline from Browns

Myles Garrett
Posted at 2:45 PM, Dec 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-30 19:11:06-05

BEREA, Ohio — Last week when the Browns took the field against the New Orleans Saints, the defense did so missing one key piece—defensive end Myles Garrett. Head coach Kevin Stefanski had opted to sit Garrett for the opening series as a punishment for violating a team rule. But what happened?

The situation was minor. Garrett felt a little under the weather the week before against the Baltimore Ravens but good enough to play. The defensive end didn't think much of it and continued on through the game. But as the following days approached, Garrett started to feel a little worse.

Garrett missed the first two days of practice with the illness, returning that Thursday in a limited manner before Saturday's game. Garrett said he went to the team doctor and was evaluated and was told he was okay, but never tested for COVID-19 and went on with his business.

The problem was that Garrett didn't report his illness to the team in the correct fashion.

"I was sick and I didn't communicate well enough," Garrett said. “I think it was a misunderstanding at the end of the day."

Stefanski, wanting to ensure team rules and protocols are followed by all, decided to sit Garrett out in the first series of the game as a result of the failure to report the illness according to the team's policy.

“That was coach’s decision based off of what happened during the week and I respect his decision," Garrett said. "Got to respect how he feels about the situation and his judgement.”

It was an important game for the Browns—one they needed to win in order to stay alive in playoff contention, even with minuscule odds—and one that started with a star player on the sideline.

Garrett holds himself accountable as his coach did, understanding that it's not a good look for him to have gone through that as a leader and Captain of the team.

“It’s just a bad look for a starter jut in general. So just don't put myself in that situation again," Garrett said.

But while the minor discipline was an unfortunate moment for Garrett and one that he'll now make sure never happens again, it could be good for the Browns in a big picture sense.

It was a minor infraction for Garrett, but the discipline serves as a lesson in accountability, which is something the youngest NFL roster could benefit from.

Garrett, the defensive Captain and four-time Pro Bowler, has to follow even the most minor rules. And if he has to, so does everyone.

Players like rookie defensive Alex Wright see the situation as a valuable lesson for him and some of his younger teammates.

Wright has been watching Garrett like a hawk all year long, picking his brain and growing his game around lessons he's learned from the veteran players on the team.

"Not just seeing what they do verbally but what they do physically, just how they carry themselves around the building—not just as a player but as a person. They just have that experience, that vibe that goes with them," Wright said. "I just keep watching them. They mean a lot to us, especially me because I like to pay attention and watch, I'm observant."

So after seeing Garrett out on the first series for violating a team policy, Wright got a well-received lesson in accountability for everyone.

"That's just one of those things that it doesn't matter who you are. It's not like a favoritism thing, it doesn't matter who you are, there's still rules and everyone has to abide by them," Wright said. "That shows little things have everything to do with the big picture. That's just a build-up of what could happen. Rules are rules, everybody has to abide by them. It's not like anything serious-serious, that's just how things are."

With the Browns experiencing some issues within the team this season, like situations surrounding defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey, who was sidelined a full game for disciplinary reasons earlier this season, accountability has become crucial for the growth of the team.

Defensive coordinator Joe Woods noted that while Garrett was the recipient of discipline, he has overall stepped up as a leader for the Browns this year.

"We just obviously don’t want to have any issues. Throughout the year, we have had multiple issues with certain guys so those are definitely things we want to clean up," Woods said. "In terms of [Garrett] as a leader, I felt like he really tried to step up and do a good job for us this year.”

So while the situation involving Garrett and a misreporting of an illness seems insignificant, the impact it may have on the younger, impressionable guys on the roster could prove valuable in the grand scheme of things.

Camryn Justice is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.

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