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Browns nominate Myles Garrett for Man of the Year award 13 months after ugly incident

Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett walks on the field prior to the start of a game.
Defensive end Myles Garrett is the Cleveland Browns’ nominee for the 2020 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
(Kirk Irwin / Associated Press)

The Cleveland Browns’ nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award is sure to raise some eyebrows.

It’s defensive end Myles Garrett.

In a statement announcing the nomination Thursday morning, the Browns included a list of reasons why Garrett is worthy of this honor. He visited East Africa to help install wells for people in desperate need of clean water. He personally contacted victims of police brutality and their families and paid for the funeral of a man shot and killed during a protest this summer. He helped provide food and other resources to those hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis.

But to many NFL fans, Garrett might be best known for an incident that stands in stark contrast to everything on that list.

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During a “Thursday Night Football” game Nov. 14, 2019, Garrett removed the helmet of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and used it to strike Rudolph in the head.

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, right, fights with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph.
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, right, fights with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph on Nov. 14, 2019.
(Jason Miller / Getty Images)

Garrett was suspended indefinitely by the NFL, missing the final six games of the season before being reinstated Feb. 12. He has apologized for the incident but also has alleged that Rudolph directed a racist slur at him beforehand. Rudolph has denied the allegation.

Garrett said this summer that “my life is much bigger than one moment.” All of his generous and socially aware acts listed above occurred after his run-in with Rudolph.

The Browns seemed to acknowledge Garrett’s efforts to put the ugly incident behind him, stating that he “made a concerted effort this year to be more of a vocal leader.”

“His performance on Sundays has been exceptional this season, but the socioeconomic work he has done in our community and abroad will have a more lasting impact,” Browns executive vice president of football operations and general manager Andrew Berry. “We are proud to have Myles represent our organization, including as our Walter Payton Man of the Year.”

The NFL’s history of confronting crisis is a crisis unto itself. Is there reason to believe the league has the courage to make the hardest decisions about the coronavirus?

Here’s each team’s nominee for the 2020 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award:

Chargers: Isaac Rochell

Rams: Andrew Whitworth

Arizona: Corey Peters

Atlanta: Steven Means

Baltimore: Bradley Bozeman

Buffalo: Harrison Phillips

Carolina: Shaq Thompson

Chicago: Jimmy Graham

Cincinnati: Geno Atkins

Cleveland: Myles Garrett

Dallas: Jaylon Smith

Denver: Justin Simmons

Detroit: Trey Flowers

Green Bay: Corey Linsley

Houston: Michael Thomas

Indianapolis: Jacoby Brissett

Jacksonville: Josh Lambo

Kansas City: Travis Kelce

Las Vegas: Alec Ingold

Miami: Byron Jones

Minnesota: Eric Kendricks

New England: Devin McCourty

New Orleans: Demario Davis

New York Giants: Dalvin Tomlinson

New York Jets: Pierre Desir

Philadelphia: Rodney McLeod

Pittsburgh: Vance McDonald

San Francisco: Arik Armstead

Seattle: Russell Wilson

Tampa Bay: Mike Evans

Tennessee: Kevin Byard

Washington: Jonathan Allen


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