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Browns' Myles Garrett: Refs 'Giving Me the Shaq Treatment' over Missed Holding Calls

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVOctober 22, 2021

AP Photo/David Richard

Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett compared himself to NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal after he felt the officials missed several holding calls during Thursday night's 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos.

Garrett joked the officiating group may need to "get some new glasses" so he can get a call.

"The refs are kinda giving me the Shaq treatment right now," he told reporters.

Garrett is off to a terrific start to the 2021 season with an NFL-leading 9.5 sacks along with 27 total tackles through seven games, but he clearly thinks he could be even more impactful if a few calls went his way.

He's just the latest star edge-rusher to question the lack of holding penalties.

In Week 4, Los Angeles Chargers outside linebacker Joey Bosa received a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for questioning how the officials missed a blatant hold by Las Vegas Raiders offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood.

"I didn't even know they called the f--king penalty on me because I was fuming," Bosa told reporters. "But, I mean, refs are blind, simple. I'm sorry, but you're blind, like open your eyes and do your job. It's so bad it's unbelievable."

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Holding calls plummeted from 2.74 per game in 2019 to 1.77 per game in 2020, per NFL Penalties. While the number has rebounded to 2.48 per game so far this season, it's still below the precedent set between 2015 and 2019.

In September, John Kryk of the Toronto Sun reported officials were "instructed" to start calling holds on a level closer to 2019 after the major dip last year.

Although the overall numbers have indeed risen, those tasked with chasing down the opponent's quarterback every week clearly don't think enough calls are being made.

Garrett's reference to Shaq is fitting since it was hard for NBA officials to fairly call games involving the 7'1", 325-pound center since being overly physical with him before he caught the ball in the paint was pretty much the only chance opposing defenders had to at least slow him down.

The 2017 first overall pick, who could be subject to a fine from the NFL for public criticism of officials, and the Browns return to action Oct. 31 when they host the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

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