Browns back Myles Garrett, Kareem Hunt says Sunday’s Steelers game for the DE and fans


CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Myles Garrett paid his debt to the NFL and has tried to move on from last November.

Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh has resurrected the memory of one of the ugliest incidents on a field in some time – Garrett clubbing Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with his own helmet during an altercation that saw benches clear in the closing seconds of a 21-7 Browns win on national TV.

Garrett later claimed Rudolph uttered a racial slur prompting his reaction, which was denied by Rudolph.

The defensive end has done what he can to repair his reputation since being reinstated earlier this year.

“I feel like it is something that he has definitely put in the past, he has definitely learned from and has grown from,” head coach Kevin Stefanski said Wednesday. “I know the focus for our team and for Myles is on this game, but I trust that he has grown a lot in the last year.”

The incident turned what should've been a jubilant celebration into a dark cloud that will hover over Garrett for years to come as he works to rehabilitate his image on and off the field.

Running back Kareem Hunt knows how difficult it is to regain trust and repair one’s image.

Hunt served an eight-game ban last year for his violent off the field behavior that included an incident in which he was caught on camera shoving and kicking a woman during an altercation outside a downtown Cleveland apartment in February 2018. That video became public in November prompting the Chiefs to immediately release him.

The Browns signed Hunt three months later and just gave him a two-year $13.25 million extension in September.

“Nobody likes having their season cut short. I know I didn’t,” Hunt said. “I am almost positive I know Myles wasn’t either. That is the thing about that. Myles is a great player, a great person and a great teammate. You just learn a lot going through situations like that. You just have to come ready, forget about all that stuff and do whatever you can.

“This one is for Myles. This one is for Cleveland Browns fans. This one is for a lot of things.”

Garrett was suspended indefinitely for the remaining six games of the 2019 season costing him nearly $1.14 million in pay as well as another $45,623 fine.  Both franchises were fined $250,000 for the melee that ensued over 30 players were fined.

Sunday, all eyes will be on Garrett.

“We are not worried about what happened last year,” quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “We have moved on. Everybody wants to make the story of it, but we are focused on right now. The task at hand is playing the Steelers and doing our jobs to the very best we possibly can. That is the focus.”

Hunt is confident Garrett will be able to handle the hostility from the fans who will attend as well as any extra attention from the Steelers.

“It takes a lot to get Myles out of his element,” Hunt said.
“Myles is a great person and teammate. I have no doubt in my mind that he will keep those emotions in check and go out there and just play football.”

If they do that, everyone should be able to move on.

“Last year doesn’t matter,” Hunt said. “We have a new team, new coaches, new everything and a new record. We definitely have to come out, be ready to play, keep our emotions in check and keep playing in between the whistles. That is for everybody. We have to be smart. It is going to be a long, physical game.”

The Browns reaffirmed their belief in Garrett as a person and elite player by giving him a five-year $125 million contract extension in July.

“We love Myles,” Hunt said. “We have Myles’ back no matter what, and he definitely has ours, too. We all know that. Can’t ask for a better teammate than Myles.”

So far this season Garrett has rewarded their faith by racking up 6.0 sacks, forcing three fumbles, recovering two fumbles to go with three tackles for loss and the Browns are off to their best start since 1994.

“We know why we were brought here,” Mayfield said. “We believe in that.”

“Obviously, the stats and the sacks speak for themselves, but if you watch it, guys are having to chip and they are having to bring extra people over there. That makes such an impact on our defensive of freeing up other one on ones for other D lineman and other blitzes and stuff like that. It is not just Myles’ play individually; it is the things that teams have to worry about. That is something that we are lucky to have.”

Mayfield and Garrett used the pandemic as an opportunity to grow their relationship off the field this year be it through text messages or video calls.

“I think that has become a great way for us to learn more about each other, obviously like I said off the field but who we are as people,” Mayfield said. “I think that is extremely important for people to build relationships. We are fighting for the same goal to win a Super Bowl, but there becomes much more want and will when you know these people off the field.”

The Steelers have bullied the Browns since 1999 winning 34 of the 42 regular season meetings but the hope is the tide is going to turn.

“I think it is going to be a very, very big challenge,” Stefanski said. “I think the guys are excited about it.”

Featured Image Photo Credit: Jason Miller-Getty Images