While Kevin Stefanski insisted that the choice will have nothing to do with the Mason Rudolph incident, the storylines suggest otherwise.
On Nov.19, 2019 night, Garrett’s NFL career changed forever. The former No. 1 overall pick out of Texas A&M swung his helmet in a violent manner at the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Rudolph, very nearly splitting his head open. Garrett was removed from the game and suspended for the rest of the season, and rightly so.
Garrett has done much to repair his reputation since then. Just this season he was the Browns candidate for the Walter Payton Man of the Year. It’s clear to see his role in the Cleveland community is an important one, and while we should hold him accountable for that violent act, it doesn’t necessarily sum him up as an individual.
#Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Myles Garrett will be captain for Sunday's game vs. #Steelers, but Stefanski said it's not a call back to Garrett's fight with Mason Rudolph last season, said it's a big game and Garrett hasn't been a game captain yet
— Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) January 1, 2021
Does making Garrett captain distract from the Browns task at hand?
Garrett has yet to be a team captain this year, so it’s odd Stefanski waited until this game to do so, especially considering the massive role he has on Cleveland’s defense. He’s in the running for Defensive Player of the Year with Pittsburgh opponent TJ Watt, who’s sitting out this game for rest reasons.
The Steelers don’t have much to play for, as the most they can benefit from a win would be moving up to the No. 2 seed. The Browns, meanwhile, must win to get into the AFC Playoffs. It’s a tall task, even against the Steelers backup quarterback, as they’re fighting their demons in Cleveland. The Steelers have long been the Browns’ nemesis, with Cleveland the laughing stock of the NFL for far too long.
On Sunday, at least for one season, they can prove they’re headed in the right direction under a bright young offensive mind in Stefanski. Garrett can play a small role in that, starting with the opening coin toss.