CLEVELAND — Myles Garrett might be the highest-paid defender in football.
But the Cleveland Browns defensive end still has some proving to do.
With the start of training camp approaching, the NFL is counting down its best 100 players with its annual NFL Top 100 list. And despite his undeniable talent, Garrett had his name called earlier than expected, ranking 80th on this year's list -- 31 spots lower than his ranking a year ago.
Garrett's lower-than-expected ranking comes after a season in which the 2017 No. 1 overall pick tallied 10 sacks in the Browns' first 10 games. Garrett, however, would wind up sidelined for the final six games of the 2019 campaign after an on-field fight in which he struck Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with his helmet resulted in an indefinite suspension.
Garrett, who was reinstated by the NFL earlier this year, alleges that Rudolph called him a racial slur.
Despite the suspension, the Browns opted to make the Texas A&M product the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, signing him to a 5-year, $125 million contract extension earlier this month. Speaking to reporters after the deal, Garrett expressed a desire to not just pick up where he left off before the suspension, but to be even better than before..
"I don’t want to be the same player I was last year; I want to be better in all aspects,‘' Garrett said. "Even on [last season's] trajectory, I was known to be in the [Defensive] Player of the Year conversation. So I don't want to make it a conversation anymore. This next year, I want to ball out and win that award, but I want to take my team to the playoffs and even higher than that."
The Browns are scheduled to report to training camp on Tuesday.