Miles Garrett serves as a lesson in responsibility after a misunderstanding led to minor disciplinary action from the Browns.

BEREA, Ohio. Last week, when the Browns took the field against the New Orleans Saints, the defense did so by missing out on one key element: defensive end Miles Garrett. Head coach Kevin Stefansky chose to land Garrett in the first series as punishment for violating team rules. But what happened?

The situation was minor. In the week leading up to the Baltimore Ravens game, Garrett felt a little out of his depth, but good enough to play. The defender did not attach much importance to this and continued the game. But as the next days approached, Garrett got a little worse.

Garrett missed the first two days of practice due to illness and returned Thursday in limited numbers ahead of Saturday’s game. Garrett said he went to the team doctor, got checked out and said he was fine, but had never been tested for COVID-19 and continued to go about his business.

The problem was that Garrett didn’t properly inform the team of his illness.

“I was sick and didn’t communicate well enough,” Garrett said. “I think it was a misunderstanding at the end of the day.”

Stefansky, wanting to ensure that all team rules and protocols were followed, decided to drop Garrett in the first series of the game due to his failure to report illness in accordance with team policy.

“It was the manager’s decision based on what happened during the week and I respect his decision,” Garrett said. “I have to respect his attitude to the situation and his judgment.”

It was an important game for the Browns—they needed to win to stay alive in playoff contention, even if the odds were slim—and a game that started with a star player on the touchline.

Garrett takes charge, as does his coach, realizing that it is not good for him to go through this as a team leader and captain.

“It’s just bad looks for a starting ledge in general. So just don’t put yourself in that situation again,” Garrett said.

But while minor discipline was a bad moment for Garrett, and now he’ll make sure it never happens again, it could be good for the Browns overall.

It was a minor offense for Garrett, but the discipline serves as a lesson in responsibility that could benefit the NFL’s youngest roster.

Garrett, the defensive captain and four-time professional bowler, has to follow even the most minor rules. And if he has to, that’s all.

Players like defensive rookie Alex Wright see the situation as a valuable lesson for themselves and some of their younger teammates.

Wright watched Garrett like a hawk all year, poking around in his head and refining his game based on the lessons he learned from the team’s seasoned players.

“Not only what they say, but also what they do physically, the way they behave around the building – not only as a player, but also as a person. They just have that experience, that vibe that comes with them,” Wright said. “I just keep watching them. They mean a lot to us, especially to me, because I like to pay attention and observe, I am observant.”

So seeing Garrett in the first season for violating team politics was a well-learned lesson in responsibility for everyone.

“It’s just one of those things that doesn’t matter who you are. It’s not like favoritism, no matter who you are, there are still rules and everyone must follow them, ”Wright said. “It shows that the little things have a direct bearing on the big picture. This is just a sketch of what might happen. Rules are rules, everyone must follow them. “

With the Browns facing some issues within the team this season, such as situations involving defenseman Perrion Winfrey, who was suspended for disciplinary reasons earlier this season, accountability has become critical to the team’s growth.

Defensive coordinator Joe Woods noted that although Garrett was disciplined, overall he led the Browns this year.

“We just obviously don’t want to have any problems. We’ve had a few issues with some of the guys over the course of the year, so those are definitely things we want to take out,” Woods said. “From point of view [Garrett] as a leader, I felt like he was really trying to step up and do a good job for us this year.”

So while the situation surrounding Garrett and the false report of illness seems minor, the impact it could have on the younger, more impressionable guys on the list could be valuable in the grand scheme of things.

Camryn Justice is a reporter for News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @kamjastis.

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