BEREA, Ohio -- Although they line up on different sides of the football and go to separate meeting rooms before and after practice, Cleveland Browns rookie defensive end Myles Garrett and 10-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas have formed a unique bond on the field.
In fact, Thomas said during the first week of training camp that Garrett is a physically gifted player, one who has a desire to improve, and the veteran offensive lineman has done what he can to nurture his young teammate’s development.
“Usually, he’s just trying to give me tips, footwork, how I can decrease the amount of signs I’m giving to tip them off to what I’m going to do next,” Garrett said. “He’s just trying to make me a better player and is giving me these little tips that I can do to change my game.
“Some things you really don’t think about or you’re focused on something else than the rush or when you’re playing defense. He’s just trying to expand your focus. You’re trying to narrow in, but there’s certain things you have to pay attention to during those six seconds during the play.”
Last December, Thomas was selected to his 10th Pro Bowl, and has gone 10 for 10 in all-star game nods since entering the league via the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft out of the University of Wisconsin. Thomas is the first Browns player ever selected to participate in 10 Pro Bowls.
Thomas joined an elite group of athletes with the 10th straight selection, as defensive tackle Merlin Olsen (Los Angeles Rams), defensive back/running back Mel Renfro (Dallas Cowboys), running back Barry Sanders (Detroit Lions) and linebacker Lawrence Taylor (New York Giants) are the only other players who went 10 for 10 in Pro Bowl appearances over their first decade in the NFL.
All are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and spent their entire careers with one franchise.
Thomas has started each of the Browns’ 160 games over the last 10 seasons and has the NFL’s longest active streak for the most consecutive snaps played (9,934), and hearing kind words from him is “definitely” a boost to Garrett’s confidence.
“No matter if I was a receiver or whatever position I was, he giving me any kind of credit or any kind of technique, I’m going to take it into mind because he’s been here for 11 years now, and he’s still doing it at a high level, so he knows what he’s talking about,” Garrett said.
Thomas is far from the only veteran Garrett is getting advice from, as fellow defensive lineman Desmond Bryant has been in the NFL for nearly a decade, and the rookie edge rusher is taking what he can from those meetings in an effort to become the most impactful player possible.
“They’re definitely the guys that we look up to and pattern ourselves after because they’ve been here for so long, they’re doing it the right way,” Garrett said. “You know that because they’re still playing at a high level.
“Just knowing you have those guys behind you, you’re playing with and against every day, they’re going to make you better players and they’re going to teach you the things you need to know to be a better player.”
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