BEREA — A collaboration with LeBron James and the return of pass rushing partner Jadeveon Clowney.
Myles Garrett had a quality Friday.
He plans to carry the momentum into Sunday in Kansas City.
“Go in and go win. It is a big game,” Garrett said of his mindset before the opener against the Chiefs. “They have proven that they can go to the Super Bowl and win the Super Bowl. They are one of the best teams in the league.
“We want to be ranked amongst that group. We have to go in there and attack them.”
Having Clowney back should help. He missed two days with an illness before returning Friday. He was limited in practice and listed as questionable but is expected to play if he doesn’t have a setback.
The Browns signed Clowney to a one-year, $8 million deal in free agency in April to take pressure of Garrett in the pass rush while benefiting from the attention other teams pay Garrett. Clowney was the No. 1 overall pick of the Texans in 2014 and Garrett went No. 1 to the Browns in 2017.
“I’m going to go out there and do what I do, regardless,” Garrett said. “I’m sure glad that he’s back. I’ll never sell that short.
“But I wasn’t playing with Clowney last year, my first three years. So if anything happens, I’m not going to be afraid to take on the challenge with the rest of the guys in the locker room because I know they’re just as prepared.”
Garrett was heading home for the release of the new video for Ladder, a sports nutrition company. Pairing with James is a milestone in Garrett’s endorsement portfolio.
“Myles is a beast,” James said in the video. “Us having that Ohio connection, too, it made it even more special just to see what he’s doing in the brown and orange. It’s big time.”
Garrett borrowed James’ most famous line to end the video.
“Cleveland, this is for you,” he said. “Just keep watching.”
Cleveland, This Is For You. 👑 x ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/FIVFAddhTM
— Flash Garrett ⚡️ (@Flash_Garrett) September 11, 2021
James said that after winning an NBA championship with the Cavaliers in 2016, which snapped the city’s 52-year drought without a major pro sports title. Garrett is driven to deliver the first Super Bowl in Browns history.
The Chiefs ended the hopes last year with a 22-17 victory in the divisional round of the playoffs.
“I feel like every great competitor kind of holds onto it,” Garrett said. “You turn the page because there’s always another game. But you hold on to those to fuel that fire.
“You can’t let it go out because that’s something he has under his belt, another notch on his belt and another one I would like to have back, but I got another opportunity and he has another opportunity to change that.”
Garrett was referring to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who was the MVP in 2018 and won the Super Bowl after the 2019 season. Mahomes has an elite arm and high-level escapability.
“I wouldn’t say he’s quite the Houdini as Lamar (Jackson) is, but he’s got his own way of being slippery in that pocket,” Garrett said. “I feel like it’s kind of like (Aaron) Rodgers. But the man has a little bit more speed than you expect him to have and he’s a little more shifty than you expect.
“You’ve got to go out there and plant one on him. You can’t be trying to knock him down with your shoulder or expecting to just get the ball out. He’s smart, he’s experienced, he’s wise beyond his years and you’ve got to go out there and play him like he’s one of the best because he is.”
Mahomes was neutralized in February in the 31-9 Super Bowl loss to the Buccaneers when the line couldn’t protect him. He made several jaw-dropping escapes and throws but was under too much pressure to have consistent success.
The Chiefs replaced the entire line in the offseason, trading for left tackle Orlando Brown, signing free agent left guard Joe Thuney and drafting center Creed Humphrey, right guard Trey Smith and right tackle Lucas Niang in the second, sixth and third rounds. The Browns will try to exploit the lack of experience and time together.
“They are new, but they have some good guys on their line,” Garrett said. “Not selling them short. Not going to take them for granted.
“We have to go out there thinking that they put in the same kind of work that we have. We are going to go out there and test them, but we have to get ourselves sharp before we can go out there and put on the performance we want to.”
Garrett had a sack of Chad Henne, who replaced an injured Mahomes in the third quarter, but wasn’t close to 100 percent in the playoff game. He pulled an oblique muscle early in the third quarter and was still affected by a bout with COVID-19.
“I wasn’t at my best but I feel I’m at my best now, so we’ll see,” he said.
The Browns are counting on Clowney to share the load.
“We love when Jadeveon is here,” defensive run game coordinator Ben Bloom said. “I believe in him as a human, as a run defender and as a pass rusher, and I am excited to see him work.
“He’s a disruptive football player. He’s got length, he’s got instincts, he plays upfield and he’s a big human being, we all know that. Whatever alignment he has across the D-line, he’s going to be an effective player.”
The Chiefs can be an imposing opening opponent, but Garrett said he liked the matchup in Week 1. He’s trying to set a tone for the season.
“You gotta go out there and be like you’ll be the entire season,” he said. “You gotta start the first game with ‘W’ and that’s simply what matters most.
“So no matter what I do or happens, I gotta do my job and make sure I’m not a liability out there. The plays that I make go on the stat sheets, but if comes with an ‘L’ it doesn’t matter at all.”