When it comes to Myles Garrett, the defensive end who is likely to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft later this month, there are several things to keep in mind: Besides the pigskin game, he’s big on poetry, paleontology and punishment.
Those are just a few of the colorful nuggets in an ESPN the Magazine interview in which the 21-year-old out of Texas A&M swears he will administer pain to the Cleveland Browns, or any team that makes a trade with them for the No. 1 pick.
“I’ll be a difference maker from Day 1,” he told Sam Alipour. “And I’m not gonna be in any trouble. I’m just gonna make plays and bring a good atmosphere to your organization. And I’m gonna start winning and winning now. And because if you don’t draft me No. 1, I will punish your team for the next 10 to 12 years. I’ll knock your QB out of the game every time we play you, and I’ll have to kick the hell out of No. 1, whoever it is.”
That promise is about the only thing Garrett has in common with cliches about football players.
Garrett, who drives a beat-up Volvo in which he occasionally listens to the music of Journey (yes, Journey), stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 272 pounds, but don’t think that’s all there is to Myles Garrett. He tells Alipour:
In the span of a few minutes, he navigates the conversation from the genius of Journey to the true nature of astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s power (his affability, in case you’re wondering) to how the words of Maya Angelou can infuse every cell of your body with light and love. And that’s before he gets to paleontology.
“I don’t think I’m the smartest player in the draft,” Garrett tells me, “but if you consider all the things I think about daily, how many things intrigue me and I try to get involved in, I’m up there.”
And don’t get him started on dinosaurs. He’s 36 hours shy of a degree in architecture because he couldn’t major in paleontology at A&M. “So I plan on going back to school for it, to get a master’s and possibly a PhD after I’m done playing.” He has big plans for something that intrigued him from the moment he saw “Jurassic Park.”
“It’s just so mysterious. We find only five percent of these creatures that roamed and ruled the earth millions of years ago, but what we’re seeing is a glimpse into the past, and every time we dig, we find something new and more extraordinary,” he said. “I want to see something nobody has seen anywhere on this earth, and my discovery is our discovery — we brought this into light. After football, I want to fund my own digs, and hopefully others will want to participate so we can share in good company as we put pickaxes to dirt.”
And, he says, there may be a book of poetry one day, too. In the meantime, Garrett, who grew up in Arlington, Tex., has been content to supply a steady stream of headlines, such as when he asked Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in a playful ESPN video to trade way, way up to draft him because the Cowboys are his “hometown team.” He knows there’s a slim-to-none chance of that happening so he’s made peace with it.
And don’t expect a photo of him hugging Commissioner Roger Goodell on draft night. He will not be in Philadelphia to wear a fancy suit and hear his name called. “An awkward photo doing a side hug with the boss?” he said. “I’d rather be hugging my family and friends.”