Since he was selected with the top pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, Myles Garrett's talent and production has fueled his rise to being regarded as one of the top defensive talents around.
Regardless of how much Garrett's skills are lauded or the accolades he's received, his Cleveland Browns have yet to realize the franchise turning point they've so long endeavored to garner.
Thus, as Garrett emerges from a 2019 season that highlighted his skills and spotlighted his career's largest transgression, the pass rusher's goals are simple.
"Winning," he said Saturday, via team transcript. "I want to go to the playoffs. You have so many goals. Everybody wants to be All-Pro. Everybody wants to be the best at their position. Everybody wants to be Defensive Player of the Year or wants to be recognized for success they have had on the field, but the ultimate success is team success. No matter how well I do, if we are no good, nobody will remember my season or what any of us did up front. I want us to ultimately have a stellar year as a defense, get to the playoffs and make a run. That is what I want to do."
Garrett's been to a Pro Bowl, he's posted 30.5 sacks in 37 career games and was turning in a Defensive Player of the Year-caliber campaign last season before his suspension.
But he's never been on a winning team. Across the three seasons in which Garrett's been a Brown, Cleveland's gone 13-34-1.
For a second straight year, the Browns are a star-studded bunch, though the hopes and hype reside in a different area code than last season's grand expectations.
In retrospect, the 2019 campaign was a cavalcade of calamity. Freddie Kitchens was one-and-done as a coach. Odell Beckham was scrutinized weekly when he didn't instantly mesh with the offense. Baker Mayfield struggled in a sophomore slump amid a wave of notoriety. And, of course, Garrett ended the season on suspension after a harrowing incident that saw him club Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with the latter's own helmet.
So now, Garrett and Mayfield are leading the Browns in an attempt to realize potential and redeem lost promise. They're a pair of No. 1 picks who've drawn acclaim and notice individually, but are tasked with leading Cleveland to contention and team triumph absent for autumn upon autumn. The Browns haven't walked away from a season as winners since a 10-6 2007 and have come up short of punching a postseason ticket for 17 consecutive campaigns.
"Just two young Texas boys who want to lead their each side of the ball to success," Garrett said of himself and Mayfield. "He wants to do well on his side. He obviously wants to bounce back and have one hell of a year, and I want to do the same. We are kind of in the same boat. We are competitive. We want to be the best that we can be, and we know that last year was not that. We have it in each other. We are going to challenge each other every single day. I am going to talk to him and talk trash when we make a big play on him. I know he is going to do the same thing when he makes a big play. Just two competitive guys who love the game and have that fire for it."
There's a fire to achieve a simple but thus far elusive goal – winning.