Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has never faced Cleveland Browns star Myles Garrett, but the reigning MVP knows just how special the veteran defensive end is, telling reporters that he'll be a Hall of Famer if he continues to play at an elite level.
"He legitimately has gold-jacket possibilities in his future if he keeps playing the way he's playing for a few more years," Rodgers told reporters.
Garrett's status for Saturday's Christmas matchup between the Packers and Browns was in question after the 25-year-old suffered a groin injury in Monday's 16-14 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.
However, the All-Pro defensive end told reporters that he believes he'll play "regardless" of how he feels. He's not sure if he'll be able to handle a full workload at Lambeau Field, though, because he hasn't practiced all week.
Garrett is in the midst of one of his best seasons in the NFL. He leads the Browns with a career-high 15 sacks, which is tied for third in the league and has recorded three passes defended, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, 48 tackles, 16 tackles for a loss and 28 quarterback hits.
The Texas A&M product was also recently named to the Pro Bowl for the second straight season.
If Garrett is unable to play against the Packers, the Browns could have some problems along the defensive line. Fellow defensive end Jadeveon Clowney's status is unclear after he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and Cleveland is already without Takkarist McKinley, who was ruled out for the season after tearing his Achilles against the Raiders.
Rodgers is also playing at a high level and will undoubtedly cause problems for the Browns defense, regardless if Garrett plays. The 38-year-old has completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 3,487 yards and 30 touchdowns against just four interceptions in 13 games.
Saturday's game is a huge one for the Browns, who control their own postseason destiny. If they defeat the Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, they have a 97 percent chance to make the playoffs, per the New York Times' interactive projections.
If the Browns lose to the Packers, they still have a 39 percent chance to make the postseason with wins over the Steelers and Bengals. If they lose all three games, or two of three, they'll likely miss the postseason.
Given the playoff implications, it should come as no surprise that Garrett expects to play, regardless if he isn't fully healthy.