Myles Garrett is the next Joe Thomas or Ozzie Newsome of the Cleveland Browns

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – A newborn can wear a Myles Garrett jersey in first grade. You there, hanging from the back edge of your early 30s – Browns tickets for your 40th birthday will include the chance to watch Garrett live. Someone looking for future hope in the midst of this present pandemic? The Browns’ best player has tied up with Cleveland throughout the 2026 season.

It’s seven more years from Garrett. It’s so long, if you go back seven Browns years, the head coach was Rob Chudzinski and the starting quarterback was Jason Campbell.

Of course, that means that Garrett is coming to the end of his new extension, a five-year contract that will start after the end of his rookie contract after 2021. But that’s what we will assume, that Garrett will be 31 years old here on December 29. , 2026, at the end of his 10th year with the Browns, like the next Joe Thomas, Ozzie Newsome or Clay Matthews. He will be the kind of player that Browns fans live with and grow up with – and maybe even win with.

He is now the highest paid defensive player in the league, but this contract does not mean that he must be the best defensive player in the league. Free agency in Cleveland is a “love the one you are with” proposition, and if Garrett is, say, the seventh best defensive player in the NFL for the next three or four years, is anyone really going to complain about money? He’s here, keep him here. But it is also Myles Garrett. Have you seen this guy? It is torn. Well.

Garrett can’t bring the Browns to the Super Bowl alone. It’s fun on a day like this to imagine leading a championship parade (will it be a t-shirt or a t-shirt?), but even if it never happens, Garrett is giving Cleveland something right now.

Well done, it’s a major part of something big. Badly done, it should be a major piece of something small, like Thomas. Players count to win, but they also count for who they are.

Garrett gives a fan in layering a plan for the first year jersey day. Besides the lack of a win, the Browns haven’t done much lately.

According to the pro-football-reference.com database, 34 players have spent at least 10 seasons with the Browns. Seven became the Hall of Famers – Newsome, Otto Graham, Lou Groza, Gene Hickerson, Frank Gatski, Dante Lavelli and Leroy Kelly. (Jim Brown’s Hall of Fame career spanned nine years). Thomas will be the eighth Browns Hall of Famer in a decade. Matthews may someday be the ninth.

Maybe Matthews (16 as Brown) was your favorite player. Or maybe it was Newsome (13), or Thomas (11), or Jim Brown or Bernie Kosar (nine each). A team must try to win. But you also have to put people in your life. Lifetime attachments relate to uniforms, but they usually start with a special person in that uniform.

Right now, shout the name of your all-time favorite Browns player. Did you hesitate Or did you just know? I hope that this player gave you a good series of several years, that he grew up with you as you grew up with him.

Matthews took the kindergarten fans to college. Sixteen – it’s a lot to ask Garrett in Cleveland. But let’s look forward to at least a solid decade. Again, this did not happen with Cleveland football. The movement eliminated continuity. Then the defeat led to ignorance. There weren’t many wins, so there weren’t many players to bond with.

Garrett cannot guarantee victories. But he signed the contract on Tuesday, so go ahead – tie up.

Since the Browns’ return 21 seasons ago, only two players have put more than a decade here – Thomas and Phil Dawson. Both beloved, both retired. Garrett played only one season with Thomas in 2017, and it turns out that the torch has been passed.

At the end of the 2019 NFL season, according to a record review of profootball-reference.com, there were 44 active players who had spent at least 10 years with their current team. Twenty-three of the 32 franchises had at least one of these players – the Browns were one of nine who did not.

Since the Browns’ return in 1999, 198 NFL players have spent at least a decade with a team. It’s an average of six per team. The Steelers had 16, the Bengals and the Ravens 10 each. The Browns, again, had two. Only Denver, with one, had fewer long-term soccer relationships.

There are a lot of quarters there, of course, like Tom Brady in New England, Drew Brees in New Orleans, Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, Matt Ryan in Atlanta, Eli Manning with the Giants and Philip Rivers with the chargers. We can review this if and when Baker Mayfield settles in for a contract extension.

But there were also memorable defenders from more than a decade. Ray Lewis in Baltimore and Thomas Davis in Caroline, Brian Urlacher in Chicago and Troy Polamalu and James Harrison in Pittsburgh, Dwight Freeney in Indianapolis and Geno Atkins in Cincinnati.

That’s why the Browns signed up. Thomas, a tackle, and Dawson, a kicker, have been a little more difficult to excite in their decades. Field goals can create memories in rare and specific moments, but there isn’t much encouragement for excellent pass protection. Thomas’ excellence was obvious, but subtle.

Now it’s time to shout for the bags. Lots of bags. For many years. It’s something.

Looking back, it’s fun to read what Thomas and his entourage said to Mary Kay Cabot when he signed the extension in 2011 that set up his long-term stay in Cleveland. On one point, he was right. Thomas said he wanted to end his career in Cleveland, and his agent said, “When you walk into the building and see the Hall of Famers on the wall, I hope Joe will be thought of the same way someday . “

I have arrived.

Then there was what Thomas said about the winner, expressing his faith in Mike Holmgren, Tom Heckert, Pat Shurmur and Colt McCoy.

“I see the direction this thing is going in and I want to be in the championship,” said Thomas.

Fact do not nail.

But it was not his fault. It wasn’t the only thing the expansion was about, nor was it the only thing about Garrett’s expansion. Do the long-term commitments of the stars lead to winning, or does victory encourage the long-term commitments of the stars? The Browns and Garrett begin with engagement.

Do the Browns need Garrett to play at an All-Pro level to win their first Super Bowl? Probably.

But they also want it to play like an All-Pro for a long time because fans need accessories. Garrett at his best will help create and nurture the next generation of fans. Maybe he will end up playing a broadcasting role for the team. Maybe he will have fans gathering around his Hall of Fame bid. Or maybe it will just bring a smile to a fan who, in years, shouts “Myles Garrett” when asked for his favorite Brown.

Lead the Browns to a Super Bowl? Great plan. Cross your fingers for the future.

Create a lifelong attachment for those who love this team? It’s a victory right now.

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