Browns' Myles Garrett Says Benching in Week 16 Loss Was 'Misunderstanding'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 30, 2022

FILE - Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) rushes during an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Cleveland. Garrett's failure to communicate with the Browns led to coach Kevin Stefanski benching him for the start of last week's game, a decision Cleveland's Pro Bowl defensive end said he respected (AP Photo/Kirk Irwin, File)
AP Photo/Kirk Irwin, File

Cleveland Browns star edge-rusher Myles Garrett told reporters on Friday that head coach Kevin Stefanski's decision to keep him on the sidelines for the first series of Saturday's game against the New Orleans Saints stemmed from a "misunderstanding."

"I was sick and I didn't communicate well enough," he continued. "That's how it went down. Got to respect how [Stefanski] feels about the situation and his judgment."

Mary Kay Cabot @MaryKayCabot

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Browns?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Browns</a> Myles Garrett confirmed his 3-play benching was a misunderstanding connected to him being sick. He said it was Kevin Stefanski's decision and he abided by it <a href="https://t.co/mmjtv930sr">pic.twitter.com/mmjtv930sr</a>

Garrett, who missed multiple practices during the week due to an illness, added that being benched to start a game wasn't a great look on his part.

"It's just a bad look for a starter just in general," he told reporters. "So just don't put myself in that situation again."

Stefanski said the situation is in the past.

"He's done a nice job [this week]," he said. "Been good."

When he's been on the field, the 27-year-old Garrett has been superb, registering 45 tackles (15 for loss), 13.5 sacks, 22 quarterback hits, four passes defensed and two forced fumbles in 14 games. That earned him his fourth Pro Bowl selection.

It's been a bit of an odd year for both Garrett and the disappointing Browns (6-9), however. Garrett missed an early October game against the Atlanta Falcons after crashing and flipping his car on Sept. 26, though he managed to avoid serious injury.

The Browns, meanwhile, struggled to a 4-7 start under Jacoby Brissett while Deshaun Watson was suspended. Since Watson's return to the starting lineup, the team has gone 2-2, though Sunday's 17-10 loss against the Saints officially eliminated them from postseason contention.

"We're trying to figure it out all together and right now we don't really have the recipe to get wins consistently as we'd like," Garrett said. "But I think most of the pieces are here and we just have to tighten a couple of screws."