CLEVELAND — Six months after being drafted, Myles Garrett can finally show why he was the No. 1 pick.
Garrett missed Cleveland’s first four games — all losses — with a high right-ankle sprain. But the 21-year-old rookie made it through a week of practice without any trouble, and he’ll make his regular-season debut Sunday for the Browns against the New York Jets.
Garrett announced his return earlier this week on Twitter. On Sunday, he’d like to proclaim it with a sack.
"It’s special," he said about the prospect of a Game 1 sack. "It’s like a fat guy’s touchdown. But whatever I can do to affect the game and just be a helping hand for this defence, if we can just help get a win on this field, I’ll do whatever I can, whatever that takes."
The Browns need a jolt of any kind, and the 6-foot-4, 275-pound former Texas A&M star might be just what Cleveland needs to shake off another slow start.
Coach Hue Jackson said Garrett’s snaps could be limited as the team doesn’t want to take any extra chances with the rookie defensive end now that he’s finally healthy.
"It is exciting, not only for myself and our coaching staff but for him and for his teammates," Jackson said. "They want to get him out there playing. They know that he brings something to the table for our football team, and we are looking for any spark, opportunity. Somebody that can continue to raise the bar for our team. That is what we need."
Garrett may not be 100 per cent healthy, but feels ready to give it a shot.
"Am I peak? No, but it’s good enough for me," he said. "I can move, I can run, I can bend, and if I can do that, I can be out there and I can make a difference."
As thrilled as the Browns are to have Garrett back, linebacker Christian Kirksey hopes expectations are kept in check.
"We don’t want to put any pressure on any individual," Kirksey said. "We are just ready to see him go out there and let it loose. I’m excited to see him play. Personally, I told him to just go out there and have fun. Don’t feel like you have to stress coming back and trying to make a wild effect or anything like that.
"Just do what you have been doing this whole training camp, play hard, play physical. I think he is going to play well for us just seeing him out at practice. It is good to have one of our brothers back."