Myles Garrett knew before he knew for sure. Everything — except the Cleveland Browns — told him he was going to Cleveland.
As proof, upon the announcement of his selection as the No. 1 overall pick, Garrett pulled off his Adidas T-shirt to reveal another T-shirt underneath: “The Heart of Rock and Roll. Cleveland.”
“Just in case (he wasn’t the choice), I had it underneath,” Garrett said. “If they picked me, I wanted to let them know I was showing them a little bit of love.”
Garrett celebrated draft night at Tierra Verde Golf Club in his hometown, forgoing a trip to Philadelphia with 21 other top NFL Draft prospects. When the Browns went on the clock, Garrett took a seat on a couch between his mother, Audrey, and his father, Lawrence, as other family members and friends gathered nearby.
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Garrett had absolutely everything he needed for the biggest moment of his life … except his phone.
After getting no answer, the Browns called Audrey’s phone. Hall of Famer Jim Brown was on the line: “Hello, Myles, this is Jim Brown speaking. We’re happy that you’re a Cleveland Brown ... ”
“I said, ‘Yes, sir,’ ” Garrett said, recounting the conversation. “You don’t say no to him.”
Soon after, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the selection to the world, bringing tears to Audrey’s eyes and a smile to Garrett’s face as the room roared with approval. Hall of Famer Bruce Smith handed Garrett a box with a Browns cap and a No. 1 jersey.
“It was really a weight off my shoulders,” said Garrett, who signed an endorsement deal with Adidas on Thursday. “It’s just a realization of a dream come true but knowing that I’ve got much more to do. This is just the first step.”
For weeks, everyone expected the Browns to select the former Arlington Martin and Texas A&M defensive end. Still, rumors began Wednesday that the Browns wanted North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky instead.
Browns coach Hue Jackson, though, indicated the pick was made a while ago, telling Garrett on the phone, “I told you that I wouldn’t leave you hanging. I told you that you were my guy.”
Garrett became the league’s 47th No. 1 pick since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, the eighth defensive end to go first. He made Tarrant County and A&M history, surpassing Arlington High’s Luke Joeckel, an Aggie who went No. 2 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013.
Highland Park’s Matthew Stafford is the only other DFW high school product to go No. 1 overall.
“It’s always great any time you can do something like this — be the No. 1 player in the draft,” A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis said. “I’m proud for him, proud for what he did at Texas A&M. He made a commitment three years ago to try to be the best player in the country, and I think he indicated that maybe he reached that goal.
“But it’s just going to get bigger for him. Knowing Myles, I know he’ll handle the NFL, and he’s going to be the right kind of player there, and I think he’ll make the city of Cleveland very, very happy there’s no question.”
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Three of the top six choices in Thursday’s draft were from DFW. The San Francisco 49ers selected Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas from Coppell with the third choice, and the New York Jets took LSU safety Jamal Adams of Hebron with the sixth pick.
The Chiefs traded up from 27th to 10th to nab Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who played at Whitehouse.
“To play here, you’ve got to be one of the best,” Garrett said.