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BEREA, Ohio — Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith had a blunt message to Myles Garrett when the pair watched film on draft day.
“That I was slow off the ball,” Garrett said Saturday at Cleveland Browns rookie minicamp, where the first overall pick in the draft was getting ready for his second practice.
Had anyone ever told him that before?
“No,” Garrett said. “Every now and then, a couple plays. He was just like, ‘Yeah, you need to be faster.'”
Garrett’s instant reaction was to chuckle a little to himself. After all, here he was, preparing to be the draft’s No. 1 pick. And Smith, there through the NFL Players Association, was being critical of the game that got him there.
“Most people wouldn’t say that, but he’s one of the greatest if not the greatest pass-rusher,” Garrett said. “If he thinks so and I want to be at his level one day, I got to take his advice and run with it.”
The game the two watched was against UCLA; Garrett had 1 1/2 tackles for a loss and a sack, numbers that might indicate a pretty good game. “I thought so,” Garrett said with a smile, adding the advice was “coming from the very best.”
“He played a league above what I am right now,” Garrett said. “If I want to get there, I got to soak in all the information and all that greatness.”
That has been Garrett’s approach since he joined the Browns. He said since the draft it’s been “just football,” and after minicamp ends Sunday he won’t leave Cleveland.
“Stay here and work,” he said.
He said he’s eager to work with veterans to “start building some chemistry.”
“Hopefully I can roll with these guys and be a benefit,” Garrett said.
“I got to run with them first,” Garrett said. “They’ve been very nice and they’ve made it feel like a family, but I got to prove I belong first. Then they can take me under their wing.”
The Browns offered Garrett prime seats for a Cavs playoff game the night after he was drafted. He turned them down because he works out every morning and night and he didn’t want to miss a session, which lasted 90 minutes to two hours and included jogging on the streets of Cleveland.
“I’m not trying to take any time off,” he said. “I’m trying to be better every single day. I’m going to be going against the very best every single week in a couple months. Can’t take any time off.”
Garrett had smiled about the possibility of meeting LeBron James on draft night, but it seems that James would respect the fact Garrett bypassed a night out to work.
“If it doesn’t get in the way of my routine, I’d be very happy to go [see the Cavs],” Garrett said. “But I got big things ahead of me, and there’s just this whole team. I’m just trying to be a part of it.”
Garrett will see Smith again. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams knows Smith and the NFL Network reported that Smith will visit the Browns at minicamp or training camp.