Myles Garrett’s Noticeable Absence at Browns OTAs Creating Questions

Myles Garrett

Getty Defensive end Myles Garrett talks with Browns co-owner Jimmy Haslam.

The Cleveland Browns are trucking their way through OTAs and Myles Garrett’s absence still looms large.

The All-Pro defensive end has not shown up to the voluntary workouts, which is a bad look for the leader of the defense. It has created some questions about the coaching staff during their time with the media, with both Kevin Stefanski and new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz being asked about Garrett’s absence. Both coaches have decided to take the high road.

“I’m not going to characterize it,” Stefanski said during the first week of OTAs when asked if it was annoying to not have him there. “I think it’s a voluntary program and the guys that are here, we coach them up. That’s how we approach it.”

Schwartz, who has been busy installing a new defense, had a similar answer.

“Those questions aren’t for me,” Schwartz said. “We’ll keep conversations between players to where they belong, between coach and player, and, you know, he’ll be here and he’ll be ready when the time comes.”

Garrett is not the only Browns veteran missing. Nick Chubb, Joel Bitonio, Joe Haeg, David Njoku, Dalvin Tomlinson, Rodney McLeod and Za’Darius Smith are also absent this week.

Myles Garrett Needs to Set the Tone for the Browns

Garrett’s absence shouldn’t be setting off any alarms about him being disgruntled or anything of the sort. The argument is more that he should be around as a leader, setting the tone and getting to know his new teammates.

Schwartz noted that it took a little while for the Browns to get going during their latest OTA session, which Garrett could have helped with.

“We’re making progress on schemes and communication. We were pretty crappy early on. We needed a little kick in the butt to get going,” Schwartz said. “But communication, getting some things under our feet. We’re getting a little bit better there, but the road will hit the rubber when training camp comes and we can play with toughness and effort and physicality.”

Myles Garrett Previously Called Out for Missing Browns OTAs

Garrett’s production speaks for itself. He’s coming off back-to-back 16-sack seasons, is one of the premier edge players in the league and is a player the opposition has to game plan for. But the towering pass-rusher hasn’t always thrived in a leadership role with the Browns. Entering his seventh season, it’s time that changes.

“If you want to be a leader on this team, if you’re a franchise pillar, you need to be at this. And it’s a new defensive coordinator. It’s a new scheme,” The Atheltic’s Jason Lloyd said on the Ultimate Cleveland Sports Show on May 25 . “There’s a lot at stake this year, there’s a lot of jobs at stake, the future of your career is at stake. Because if this thing goes sideways, who knows where this goes. This is a really important season and a really important offseason. And if you want to carry yourself as a pillar of this franchise, and as a leader of this franchise, set the tone.”

Garrett’s OTA absence might ultimately end up being a moot point in the scope of the season. He’ll have some new pass-rush partners in Smith and Ogbo Okoronkwo, which could lead to his best season yet.’s Adam Schein is predicting that Garrett will win Defensive Player of the Year next season, citing the added help as a key factor.

“The trade for Za’Darius Smith and free-agent signing of Ogbo Okoronkwo gave Garrett some much-needed support in the edge-rushing department,” Schein wrote. “Inherently, with opposing offenses facing more pass-blocking challenges, I could see Garrett hitting 20 sacks. Cleveland should be vastly improved in 2023, too, helping the premium QB hunter draw more of the attention he deserves.”