BEREA — Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams blitzed Browns radio host Matt Wilhelm during his weekly news conference.
“It really pisses me off when somebody questions whether a kid has a concussion or not and I’m being very truthful,” Williams said unsolicited Friday. “That’s stupid and it’s a good thing I wasn’t in the building when all that went down.”
Wilhelm took issue with No. 1 pick Myles Garrett’s decision to report concussion symptoms two days after finishing the game against the Titans on Oct. 22.
“I find myself questioning it,” Wilhelm said Oct. 25 on “Cleveland Browns Daily,” the team’s in-house radio show that airs weekday afternoons on WKNR 850-AM. “I’m an old-school guy. And if I have a little headache or if I’m a little queasy or I’ve got a little sensitivity to light, I don’t find myself saying anything to anybody other than someone close to me who might not be a Browns employee or a Browns teammate. Maybe my brother, or a friend of mine in the city, maybe my mom and dad who understand who I am and that I’m like kind of tough and I don’t just kind of like back out with small, dinky, little injuries.”
Garrett was diagnosed with a concussion, placed in the league’s protocol and didn’t travel to London for the following game. He was cleared last week and will play Sunday against the Lions in Detroit.
“Myles Garrett is a very, very, very tough human being and the fact that he played through a bang upside the head and it didn’t affect him until a few days later, there’s never a question in my mind that that young man wants to play, can play and will play,” Williams said.
He said it was good for Garrett to report the symptoms, which included a headache and nausea.
“That’s how we go about doing things and that was the right thing to do,” said Williams, who added he’d address it with Wilhelm if he saw him.
Wilhelm is an Elyria Catholic graduate and Elyria Sports Hall of Famer who played linebacker at Ohio State and in the NFL from 2003-10. He issued a 2½-minute apology Friday on the air.
“I understand the rules are significantly different and I think the amount of information that has become relevant to players, to NFL teams, and the doctors’ endless work to really understand what head trauma is and how it affects the past players in this league, myself and the current situation for our players,” he said. “I brought negative light upon the Cleveland Browns, who have enough adversity to deal with in trying to win football games on the field, and it’s been a distraction. I never meant to do so.”
Wilhelm said he was frustrated by not being able to watch Garrett against the Vikings in London.
“I apologize to Myles Garrett,” he said. “This was never an indictment upon him. I think that the brain is the most important organ in the body and you do have to do everything you can to protect that by all means, and I just think that it’s an opportunity for me to get educated as the rules are ever-changing in this league.
“In hindsight, I commend him for bringing that to the surface.”
Team spokesman Peter John-Baptiste released a statement commending Garrett for reporting the symptoms and condemning Wilhelm’s comments.
“Our athletic training staff and medical team have worked extremely hard to establish a culture where our players understand the importance of self-reporting,” the statement said. “Matt Wilhelm’s on-air comments directly contradict the club’s stance on the subject and our message to our players. We addressed the matter with Matt immediately after it occurred and he understands his comments were ill-advised and inappropriate.”
When Garrett was cleared from the protocol, he said he takes brain health seriously and wants to have kids and be able to take care of them.
“It’s not something you should play around with,” he said. “And it’s just one of those risks you shouldn’t take.”
Garrett said he has no lingering effects from the concussion and appreciated the support of Williams.
“I’m just glad that he has my back,” Garrett said. “He’s my coach, he’s my guy and I’m glad he stands behind me at all times.”
Garrett missed the first four games with a high right ankle sprain and wasn’t his normal self in three games before the concussion and bye. He said the time off helped.
“I feel pretty close to 100 (percent),” he said. “The body feels good, ankle feels right, doesn’t really bother me coming off the edge at all anymore. Feel like I should have a good game overall.”