Strip sack: Browns star Garrett poses nude, set to dominate
By TOM WITHERS
BEREA, Ohio (AP) Myles Garrett keeps a list of goals. Posing nude on rocks in the California desert was never one of them.
He checked it off anyway.
At the urging of his mother, Audrey, and some friends, the Browns' star defensive end was photographed for ESPN's "Body Issue," displaying the chiseled, 6-foot-4, 270-pound physique he has worked tirelessly to sculpt.
Garrett said he wasn't shocked that his mom would push him to do the tasteful spread.
"Not at all," he said with a smile. "My mother birthed me, she knows I look good."
While mom approved of him modeling naked while covering his private parts with a well-placed football, Garrett's teammates haven't missed the chance to rib him about all of the, ahem, exposure.
"He wants to be a sex symbol so bad," yelled defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
Garrett's striving for more than that.
From the moment he was selected by the Browns with the No. 1 overall pick in 2017, Garrett has stated that he wants to be one of the game's greats and establish an unmatched legacy in Cleveland.
As he enters his third year, nothing has changed.
"Same as in my first year, defensive player of the year and best player on the field every time I walk out there," he said. "That's it."
If Garrett's preseason performances are any indication, he's on his way to another stratosphere - professional superstardom. He came to training camp in the best shape of his life after adhering to a stricter diet - he cut down on his consumption of french toast - while working out with UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, who is from Cleveland.
Garrett's lighter, leaner and even a little meaner, although it's hard to describe him as nasty when looking at his collection of plastic dinosaurs on the top shelf of his locker or when his phone's musical playlist blasts classic rock hits by Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Peter Gabriel and Kansas while he meets with reporters at the end of a practice week.
Garrett had 13 1/2 sacks last season despite being double-teamed, chipped at the line of scrimmage by tight ends and backs and being the focus of attention for every offense Cleveland faced.
This year, he could be more dangerous.
Garrett has been joined up front by Richardson, a former Pro Bowler with Minnesota who signed with Cleveland as a free agent, Olivier Vernon, another Pro Bowler who came over in the trade for Odell Beckham Jr., and tackle Larry Ogunjobi, who has quickly established himself as one of the league's best interior linemen.
The only thing this ferocious front four is missing is a nickname.
Vernon has been impressed with Garrett for months.
"Explosive," he said. "He's all what everybody says about him. His ability to bend the corner, man, I haven't seen nobody bend the corner like that, especially at his size. He comes in every day and works hard, he's always hungry. That's one thing everybody respects."
Garrett dedicated himself during the offseason like never before. He did extra weightlifting, more film work and pushed himself harder than at any time in his career.
The results are noticeable.
"He said he wants more production. He wants to be a better player. I want the same things for him," said first-year coach Freddie Kitchens. "I like the fact that he is willing to get coached to help him get there. I have enjoyed getting to know Myles. I have enjoyed getting to know his personality and getting to know his desire and relentless nature on where he wants to get."
The Browns open Sunday against Tennessee, which will be missing Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan, serving a four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
No Lewan means the Titans will have to do more to slow down Garrett and protect quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Garrett said Lewan's absence doesn't change things.
"I'm not going to lower my intensity or my effort or my expectations just because Taylor's not there," he said. "He's the guy. H's their left tackle and I'd have had the pleasure of going against him, but I don't get that chance so I've got to go against somebody else and make their day hell."
During his photo shoot, Garrett said he wanted to continue to work on his body to "look like a Grecian God."
Seems a little lofty, but not unattainable to Garrett.
"No. 1 pick, Defensive Player of the Year, I want to be the first lineman to be MVP," Garrett said. "There's a lot of pressure already. So Greek God's the least of my troubles."
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Updated September 6, 2019