Myles Garrett just got a monster deal to stick with the Cleveland Browns, reportedly landing a five-year, $125 million extension that'll make him the highest-paid defender in the NFL. And while the lucrative deal probably answered any questions about the team's belief in Garrett despite a controversial end to 2019, the star pass rusher reiterated Thursday that both he and the Browns have moved on from the Mason Rudolph incident that earned him an indefinite suspension to close last season.
"My life is much bigger than one moment," Garrett said, as the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot noted. "Me, the Browns and my teammates are going to look past that and go on to greater success, and that'll just be a small bump in the road."
The 24-year-old Garrett, of course, is referencing the Browns' Week 11 victory over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers, during which Garrett and two other players were ejected as a result of a fight between Garrett and Rudolph, the Steelers' quarterback at the time. Garrett has repeatedly accused Rudolph of using a racial slur during their on-field scuffle, but his infamous actions -- pulling off Rudoph's helmet and then using it to hit the QB on his unprotected head -- resulted in a suspension for the final six games of 2019.
Asked Thursday if he believes he has a reputation for being a dirty player, Garrett doubled down on the notion his 2019 outburst was out of character.
"That's not who (other players have) experienced," he said. "They've never thought of me that way. So I don't think I'll be walking on eggshells when I'm on the field. I've never been that."
Browns management appears to be on his side, and not just because they paid him $125M.
"It would be remiss of me not to address the fact that we are choosing to do this after a season during which Myles was suspended," new general manager Andrew Berry said earlier this week. "Myles has been accountable for his mistake and we view the incident as well out of character. We don't believe one moment should define him based on how he has handled himself prior to and in the months after last year's incident. We are excited to ensure that Myles will stay in Cleveland for the foreseeable future."