It’s no secret former defensive end Myles Garrett was made different. The man chose Texas A&M to study toward a geology degree in hopes of being a paleontologist one day — either professional or amateur, it doesn’t matter to him.
Regardless, Garrett became one of the best defensive players in Texas A&M football history. In three years, despite injuries, Garrett moved into a tie for No. 6 on the Aggies’ all-time sacks list. Only Jacob Green in 1977-79 had more in a 3-year career.
Thanks to his production and physical gifts, Garrett is the prohibitive favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Being drafted first comes with plenty of attention and adoring fans screaming your name as you take the stage and shake Roger Goodell’s hand.
Last week, Garrett shunned that.
Garrett announced he would be staying home from the NFL Draft, instead opting to spend April 27-29 with his family in Dallas. In addition to saying it’s not his scene, Garrett wanted to be around the people close to him.
“I know with the draft, you can only have a select amount of people there,” Garrett told the Houston Chronicle. “I knew I wanted to have everyone who ever affected my life positively and build me up to what I am now, I want them to see what I’ve achieved at this point in my life.”
Garrett is a breed apart
His decision to stay home and enjoy the moment with the most important people in his life fits right into what we know about Garrett the man. It’s also what makes him great.
His personality is quite the divergence from Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, perhaps the most beloved Aggies player of the school’s SEC era. Fans don’t have to worry about Garrett getting in trouble with Drake or Justin Bieber at the clubs. He’s a quiet guy.
Garrett doesn’t fit the mold of future NFL superstar. While many spend their lives perfectly manicuring their public image, Garrett is happy to be himself. He talks extensively about his love of dinosaurs, comparing his play to a Deinonychus. The one called the “Terrible Claw.”
Garrett also writes poetry and listens to music from the 1960s and 1970s, including Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and, from an earlier era, Duke Ellington. In the age of endless media presence, Garrett doesn’t even have a Twitter account.
However, his aloof nature did get him into trouble on Saturday, when Garrett joked that he wanted the Browns to trade the No. 1 pick to the Cowboys so he could stay home and play in Dallas. Some saw it as a shot at Cleveland. Really, it was probably more yearning to stay close to his family.
“Take a joke, people,” Garrett told ESPN.
Football players are constantly under the microscope, but Garrett made a name for just being himself. And when it comes down to it, that’s what makes him a great representative for Texas A&M. Learning the weight of his words will be Garrett’s next adjustment.
Even though his personality might preclude him from appearing on the front page of TMZ like Manziel or in national ad campaigns like Von Miller, Aggies shouldn’t lose sight of how much an anomaly Garrett is among football superstars. Both on and off the field, he is special.