No risk: Browns’ Garrett self-reported recent concussion
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — There are lines Myles Garrett won’t cross when it comes to his health.
Cleveland’s rookie defensive end practiced Wednesday for the first time in more than a week after clearing concussion protocol from a head injury he suffered on Oct. 22 and self-reported two days later.
Garrett’s injury prevented him from traveling to London for the Browns’ game against Minnesota, and the first overall pick in this year’s draft said he will never put himself — or his future — at risk simply to stay on the field.
“I’ll play through anything,” he said. “I’ll play through my foot, my arm, anything that’s affecting me below my neck, because I can’t play around with my brain.”
Garrett doesn’t recall any specific play in Cleveland’s overtime loss to Tennessee 10 days ago that caused his third concussion since he began playing in high school.
Following that game, Garrett was at dinner with family members who noticed he wasn’t himself and urged him to get checked.
“I had a good headache and I didn’t really feel like eating,” he said. “I felt kind of nauseous and I was really dizzy, but it was really just working into it. I had none of those symptoms during the game. I didn’t feel that way, it was just as the night progressed I kind of started feeling that way.”
When the symptoms persisted two days later, Garrett told the team’s medical staff and he was placed in protocol.
The 21-year-old, who missed the season’s first four games with a sprained right ankle, said he was initially hesitant to report his symptoms.
“I did because I really wanted to play,” he said. “I didn’t want to have something like that be a hindrance to me or my team, so once I still felt it that second day, so on Tuesday, I really felt like I should say something because I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere.”
Garrett said he’s had two previous concussions, one in high school and one while at Texas A&M. As much as he wants to be on the field, he’s unwilling to make a sacrifice that could cause him irreparable damage.
“If it had been (something) physical with my body, that’s different, but you don’t want to mess with your mind,” he said. “That’s something that you can’t get back. That’s something you can’t heal.
“You can deal with a thumb or an arm or a back or a leg, but messing with your mind and allowing those kind of things to carry on, that can do harm for a long time and you don’t want to be that way if you plan to have kids or be the same way you’ve always known.”
Garrett understands that there may be some people questioning his toughness. He doesn’t care and said it’s vital for players to protect themselves.
“It’s all up to you,” he said. “It doesn’t really bother me what other people say, whether I’m being a man or not. I want to have kids one day and I want to be able to take care of them how I see fit. I don’t want to be constricted by my playing and how football has affected my mind.”
Garrett has been dominant when healthy, recording four sacks in three games. The concussion and Cleveland’s bye week will allow him to heal up and be as close to 100 percent as he’s been since hurting his ankle a few days before the opener.
The 6-foot-4, 275-pounder has received praise for his play so far, but he’s solely focused on getting the Browns fixed.
“I’m not really going out there to be a stat padder,” he said “I just want to be effective. So, whether that’s getting to the quarterback and getting in his face and intimidating him and getting him off the spot so he can’t complete passes, whatever it takes to win ballgames, that’s what we’re worried about and that’s what I’m concerned about.”