There are a lot of things about Myles Garrett the football player fans and pundits have seen before:
The early end to his recruitment out of Arlington Martin and his grasp of the term “commitment” that sometimes eludes high-profile recruits. The display of pure athleticism at Texas A&M that led to huge pre-NFL Draft hype. The comparisons, the human side and the magazine covers.
Here’s his latest, by the way:
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For the record, Garrett’s child-like love for dinosaurs and his adult paleontological aspirations have been well-documented for those who have followed the explosive defensive end since his time at Martin. Garrett told the Star-Telegram in 2013 “I always loved digging,” in response to a question about his love for the field.
But Myles Garrett observers are watching right now at a unique point in his development. He doesn’t play at A&M anymore, and he isn’t beholden to staying on the team’s message. He hasn’t been wrangled by the NFL and its public relations machine, yet, either.
So he can, for the moment, be himself, as publicly as he deems appropriate. Enter his new Twitter account, brought to life late last month, where he invites conversation, and actually engages with those whose opinions differ on topics from war to the meaning of life. Conversely, and equally as baffling to some, during his time at A&M, he famously deleted his Twitter account, so he could focus on becoming a team leader before his sophomore year.
If his musings on life, love and war make your eyes roll, you’re not alone. “Stick to sports, bro,” has become a fashionable rebuttal to jocks and sports writers alike who dare to step outside the painted lines on social media. But, judging from his @ mentions, it appears that Garrett’s curiosity and thoughtfulness have largely been met with a thoughtful, appreciative back-and-forth.
For example, just hours after 59 United States cruise missiles rained down on a Syrian airfield in response to reports of chemical attacks by the Assad regime on the dictator’s own people, Garrett offered the following:
I refuse to believe that the 'pursuit of happiness' can be upheld only if it's saddled on the back of war & death.— Myles Garrett (@MylesLGarrett) April 7, 2017
He’s willing to engage, and his opinion is informed, which is more than can be said for so many Twitter conversations on war and international relations.
As someone with a budding connection to the city of Cleveland, which would be his base of operation should the Browns select Garrett with the No. 1 pick in the Draft, he was mindful Sunday to offer a thought to those affected by the fatal shooting there that was captured on video and later shared on Facebook:
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity." Praying for Cleveland and that we unite for strength.— Myles Garrett (@MylesLGarrett) April 16, 2017
On making meaning of life’s winding journey, he mused:
The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.— Myles Garrett (@MylesLGarrett) April 1, 2017
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And make no mistake, he gets his share of sarcasm-masquerading-as-wit in response.
But his fully-formed opinions on such an array of subjects lend authority and credibility to his thought process when he says things like, “I want to break all the records,” or “I want to come in and change the game.”
Does he run the risk of misfiring on social media by putting himself out there? Indeed, he does. But for better or worse, he’s made it clear, while he has the license to make these kinds of decisions, he’s not going to “stick to sports.”
Coming from a “different dude” the caliber of this Arlington native, it’s at very least worth tuning into.
The Star-Telegram takes a look back at Texas A&M junior Myles Garrett as a high school senior at Arlington Martin. (by Jared L. Christopher - Star-Telegram.com)
Matthew Martinez: 817-390-7667; @MCTinez817