BEREA, Ohio — Myles Garrett’s sack pace is impressive, but the Cleveland Browns defensive end remains 148 sacks behind Bruce Smith’s historic career total.
So when Smith copied the concept of decorating for Halloween by installing a quarterback graveyard in front of his house, the Hall of Famer’s version featured many more tombstones than the one that recently made Garrett’s Medina County home a tourist attraction.
According to the Buffalo Bills, Smith put up 76 QB tombstones in his graveyard.
“You know, he didn’t have to go over the top like that,” Garrett said with a laugh. “I was just trying to get some motivation for the season, put a couple of guys that I [sacked] or want to get. He put everybody. We know you got like 150 guys on there. You don’t have to flex on us like that.”
Smith showed off his cemetery in an online video and encouraged Garrett.
“Myles, I was inspired by your graveyard, but here’s what a real graveyard looks like,” Smith said in the video. “To you and all my fellow pass rushers, keep hunting.”
Garrett and Smith have had a relationship since 2017. Smith visited Garrett’s home on draft day, when the Browns selected the latter first overall out of Texas A&M. The same year, Smith visited Browns training camp to tutor Garrett.
In 1985, the Buffalo Bills chose Smith atop the draft.
“He shouted me out [in the video], and then I texted him, laughed about it,” Garrett said Friday. “He said keep hunting, loving what you’re doing, and, yeah, got a long way to go. But it goes right onto the bulletin board.”
Garrett is a Halloween enthusiast. He said he has two costumes this year, and said he might wear one to FirstEnergy Stadium and the other for his neighborhood trick-or-treat.
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Entering the Browns’ Halloween matchup with the rival Pittsburgh Steelers, Garrett leads the league with 9.5 sacks. The NFL’s single-season record is 22.5 by Hall of Famer Michael Strahan of the New York Giants in 2001. Sacks became an official stat in 1982.
In 58 career games, Garrett stands at 52, second-most in team history behind Clay Matthews (62).
A two-time Pro Bowler, Garrett put a number on his sack goal for this season, and it doesn’t seem farfetched.
“Twenty-plus, that’s the goal,” Garrett said. “I mean, the record has been my goal. But if you’re going out there, making an impact, being disruptive and you have 20-plus sacks and add some forced fumbles to it, then I’m going to help my team win and that’s what’s it’s all about.”
And if this is in Ben Roethlisberger’s last game in Cleveland?
“Hell, I have to send him off, right? If it is,” Garrett said. “He’s left a huge legacy in Pittsburgh and here, so I’ve got to make sure he doesn’t leave with a win. But got to respect what he’s done and the greatness that he’s had on the football field.”
Marla Ridenour can be reached at [email protected] Read more about the Browns at www.beaconjournal.com/browns. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Myles Garrett laughs as Bruce Smith makes own quarterback graveyard