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Despite former teammate’s comments, Myles Garrett isn’t paid to be a vocal leader

Malik Jackson’s opinion matches many fans’ thoughts on the Browns best defender

Denver Broncos v Cleveland Browns Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Professional athletes are generally paid more money to play a sport than any/all of us will see in our lifetimes. Because of that, fans often put themselves in athletes’ shoes. ‘If I was getting paid (an obscene amount of money), I would always/never ________!”

For Cleveland Browns star DE Myles Garrett those statements are often about him not chasing down plays, not showing emotion and not being a vocal leader. Those characteristics have followed Garrett since college. The latter two (emotions, vocal leadership) have also been knocks on HC Kevin Stefanski, although fans laud RB Nick Chubb for his stoic presence.

The complaints about Garrett’s personality are easy to ignore when fans and media bring them up. The Browns, like every other team would have been, were happy to offer the former #1 overall pick a five-year, $125 million contract. Cleveland is paying Garrett for what they know he can do, who he is and what they expect him to be over the length of the contract.

The Browns aren’t expecting a huge contract will suddenly change who a player is. Assuming dramatic personality and behavioral shifts just because of money would be a bad investment, for any organization.

While that Garrett conversation was fine to occur in our great communities in the comment section and on social media, it became a topic necessary to address when Malik Jackson, who spent one year in Cleveland, addressed the issue on the NFL Network:

“His leadership skills maybe weren’t the best” assumes that a talkative, vocal leader is required. Jackson also notes “take the bull by the horns” before contradicting himself, to some extent, talking about “need to lead more by example” AND “tell guys what to do.”

Garrett, like Chubb, Amari Cooper and others on the team, is not a verbal leader. He is a talented player that prepares well (can’t have that physique without hard work) and has been the best defender on the team for years.

Jackson continues with “some guys don’t have it” but then says that Garrett needs to have it. The Cleveland Browns did not pay Garrett all that money to be the team’s defensive line coach, disciplinarian or to magically become some kind of vocal, outspoken leader. They paid him to keep doing the things that he had been doing to start his career and, hopefully, improve on that on the field.

During this second section, Jackson brings up Jadeveon Clowney’s name:

Given what happened last year with Clowney, it is probably good that younger players were looking to Garrett. Jackson, being out of the league since his 16 games with Cleveland in 2021, notes that he was more willing to be a verbal leader. Given his declining production and age, the Browns brought him in with some of those traits in mind as well.

Would it be nice if the best player on the defense was also an outspoken leader? Certainly. Should anyone (teams, media, fans) expect players to change just because they are really good and got paid a lot? Certainly not.

Myles Garrett is who is he and the Browns paid him to be just that. Malik Jackson is who he is and Cleveland paid him to be just that. We should assume those things will continue, like Jackson going on TV to talk is proof of, until evidence to the contrary.

Some of you might disagree, which is perfectly fine. Share your thoughts in the comment section below and see what other fans think as well: