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Kevin Stefanski says Myles Garrett is retired from basketball, Browns star jokes it’s a ‘Jordan retirement’

With the NBA playoffs in full swing, the Boston Celtics announcing major changes to their front office, and Sixers star Joel Embiid set to miss time due to a partially torn meniscus, it’s admittedly easy for some hoops news to fall through the cracks. That said, there’s a nugget that came down Wednesday that’s arguably bigger than all those stories combined (Okay, maybe not that big). Earlier this offseason, Browns star pass rusher Myles Garrett went viral after he posted a video showing off his basketball skills, which included some sweet ball-handling and a powerful windmill dunk. That video got some thinking about how dominant Garrett could be if he were to switch sports and take his talents to the NBA. However, that dream appears to be dead.  

While speaking to reporters, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski announced Wednesday that Garrett is “retired” from basketball. When asked about putting down his sneakers after that quick moment in the sun and picking his helmet back up to begin preparing for the upcoming 2021 regular season, Garrett teased that walking away from basketball may not be as permanent as Stefanski noted. 

“I feel like it’s more of like a (Michael) Jordan retirement,” Garrett said while smiling, via NFL.com. “I went to baseball for a second, slash, I went to basketball for a second. Now I’ve got to go back to what I’m good at, what I usually do, playing football, rush the passer, stopping the run. Next season, you never know. I might go back to basketball, I might go play baseball, see if I can get on a team. There’s more on the horizon but I’ve got to get back to what my main focus is.”

While Garrett’s basketball days may be taking a hiatus, his club’s future heading into next season is extremely promising. After a 2020 campaign that saw the Browns reach the playoffs for the first time since the 2002 season, Cleveland is looked at as a legit threat to come out of the AFC and compete for a Super Bowl in 2021. That’s, in part, thanks to Garrett, who also noted that he’s feeling “the best I have since last year before COVID.” The 25-year-old contracted the coronavirus back in November and admits that it limited his impact on the field at times. 

“Athletically, I felt like I had it. Conditioning-wise, I felt like I was like 50 percent,” Garrett said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had to use oxygen so frequent, so early into a game than in Tennessee (in Week 13). I don’t think I had a huge amount of snaps but I was like, hanging on.

“Once you get tired, one, you start losing the plays, so you’re trying to think about what you’re supposed to do here. If you’re thinking about what you’re supposed to do here, you can’t think about the alternatives or the options off that, the pass-rush moves or the rip and release for run blocks. Once you’re thinking about just trying to remember the play, you’re not thinking about running calls with your DT, things start to slip. And then you’re not thinking about alternatives that you can do with your hands, so you just start to rely on one move. All that stuff just starts to weigh on you. So I’m just trying to get my conditioning back (at that time).

“I think I had a quarter, maybe a quarter and a half and I was honestly like emptying the tank. I don’t think I’ve ever been like that. So, to not feel like that, it’s great. I’m glad I’ve recovered and hope nothing like that happens to me or anyone else.”

Judging by Garrett’s viral basketball video earlier this offseason, it looked like he was well on his way to returning to top form. With even more time to get his conditioning back to 100%, a fully healthy Garrett is great news for the Browns’ prospects heading into next year and possibly a nightmare scenario for opposing offenses.