In February Cleveland Browns defender Myles Garrett tweeted out a video clip in which he showcased his basketball skills, featuring everything from dunks to a long-range jumper.
That particular video didn’t bother Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski, who told Pro Football Talk that he was okay with Garrett venturing out onto a basketball court, as he is with other Browns players taking part in offseason activities that help them stay in shape.
“I think that’s the key: within reasonable limits,” Stefanski said at the time. “They know not to go in some competitive game where they’re gonna turn an ankle or catch an elbow or those type of things. If they’re working on their body, which for these guys that is their lifeblood is their body. If they’re looking to get more athletic and quicker and stronger, I’m gonna support that within reason.”
But now the fifth-year edge rusher has gone too far, apparently.
Late last month Garrett tweeted out a video of himself driving the ball to the hoop during a pickup basketball game, a sequence that ended with him dunking on a hapless defender.
The video went viral, and that was the last straw for Stefanski, or so it seems. At a press conference on Wednesday, Cleveland’s head coach announced that Garrett has “retired” from playing basketball. “He’s done,” Stefanski concluded.
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A ’Jordan Retirement’?
Notably, Garrett didn’t let the issue rest. In fact, he hinted that he might formally join a basketball team or baseball team at some point in the future—perhaps as early as 2022.
“I feel like it’s more of like a [Michael] Jordan retirement, Garrett said while smiling, this according to Nick Shook of NFL.com.
“I went to baseball for a second, slash, I went to basketball for a second. Now I’ve got to go back to what I’m good at, what I usually do, playing football, rush the passer, stopping the run. Next season, you never know. I might go back to basketball, I might go play baseball, see if I can get on a team. There’s more on the horizon but I’ve got to get back to what my main focus is.”
Even if he’s half-joking, Stefanski probably doesn’t want to worry about Garrett–who signed a $125 million contract extension last summer, with $100 million guaranteed–possibly pursuing basketball or baseball anytime in the next few years.
Bill Cowher Played Basketball—For Pay—When He Was a Linebacker for the Browns
The latest development in the Myles Garrett basketball saga brings to mind one particular vignette from Bill Cowher’s new memoir, Heart and Steel, which went on sale on Tuesday.
In the book, the former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach notes that his rookie salary with the Browns (1980) was $20,000, not enough money to rely solely on playing football.
Fortunately for Cowher, “people in Cleveland were drawn to the personalities on the team, so there were postseason Browns events,” he recalls. “Many of them were basketball games, around Cleveland and the entire state of Ohio. Browns players could be paid as much as $300 to $400 per game—three or four times a week—to play exhibitions against other teams.”
That extra income was a difference-maker for Cowher and his family.
“That $900 to $1,200 per week was more than I made as a pro football player!” he exclaims.
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