Garrett hears from Hall of Famer Smith
BEREA — A physical specimen, consensus best player in the draft and No. 1 overall pick, Myles Garrett came to Cleveland with few noticeable flaws.
Hall of Famer Bruce Smith found one.
After he and Smith watched video together of his college games at Texas A&M, Garrett said the former defensive great was blunt in his assessment of the rookie’s game.
“He said I was slow off the ball,” Garrett said Saturday as the Browns continued their rookie minicamp under sunny skies.
“I kind of laughed a little bit,” he said. “Most people wouldn’t say that, but he’s one of the greatest, if not the greatest, pass-rusher. If he thinks so and I want to be at his level one day, I got to take his advice and run with it.”
Garrett has had an impressive first two days with the Browns, showing off some of the size and speed that persuaded Cleveland to make him their first selection. Wearing No. 95, Garrett is a presence even when he’s standing still, but when he releases off the line and heads toward the quarterback, he’s a sight to behold.
“Did you see that guy come off the edge one time today?” coach Hue Jackson said. “Holy smoke. Athletic, fast, big, fun. He is very talented. He is going to have to earn the right to be what we think he can be. We are not just going to hand him anything. He understands that. He has to put his head down and work.”
Garrett said Smith, who recorded 200 career sacks during 15 seasons with Buffalo and four in Washington, will be at training camp to work with Cleveland’s defensive linemen.
“I know he will be a presence who will mentor me and all of us to be better players on and off the field,” Garrett said. “He is going to make us better pass rushers.”
Garrett’s goal is to follow in Smith’s footsteps, and he is already taking some of the former Pro Bowler’s advice to heart.
“He said I was slow off the ball, but that is coming from the very best,” Garrett said. “He is just trying to teach me the tricks that I can get off the ball faster and do it even better. If I learn that and keep on practicing that, then I will perform at a high level.”
NOTES: DB Howard Wilson, Cleveland’s fourth-round pick, will need surgery after breaking his kneecap. The team said he will miss time during the 2017 season but did not give a timeframe for his recovery. … “It’s disappointing but this a part of playing football,” said Wilson, who played at Houston. “It was kind of a freak thing. I was just running around and my knee just kind of locked up on me.” … DB Jabrill Peppers was on the field after sitting out Friday when he followed the advice of his agent and didn’t sign a participation release. Peppers begins his pro career in the league’s substance abuse program after having a diluted urine sample at the scouting combine. He said sitting out Friday had nothing to do with avoiding a drug test. “I don’t know why you think of me like that, but everyone is entitled to an opinion,” he said. “What you think of me is no skin off my teeth. I’m not worried about anything but being the best football player and person I can be.”