Myles Garrett pushes, shoves and fights 300-pound offensive linemen on a daily basis for a living. A microscopic virus flattened him.
"Kicked my butt," the Cleveland Browns star said Friday. "Now I'm back."
Speaking for the first time since testing positive for COVID-19 last month and missing Cleveland's past two games, Garrett said he experienced moderate symptoms while sick and that he worried about long-term health issues.
"I lost my smell for almost two weeks, had the body aches, headaches, my eyes were hurting, coughing, sneezing, fever," he said. "I was in pain."
Garrett was activated from the COVID list Tuesday, returned to practice the past two days, and despite some stiffness on his first day back on the field, he is ready to play Sunday when the Browns (8-3) continue their playoff push against the Tennessee Titans (8-3).
Garrett was leading the NFL with 9½ sacks and was in the conversation to be the league's Defensive Player of the Year before he fell ill. He can't make up for lost time, but the No. 1 overall pick in 2017 expects to play up to his high standards starting this week.
"I'm not here to make a cameo appearance or a second-rate arrival," he said. "I'm here to do the job that I was doing before. I don't think there will be any drop-off. I wouldn't give anything other than my best and I feel like that's at the very top of the defensive line rankings."
RGIII on IR
Quarterback Robert Griffin III was placed on injured reserve by the Baltimore Ravens, leaving Trace McSorley as the backup when Lamar Jackson comes off the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Ravens activated four players off the COVID-19 list on Friday, but Jackson wasn't one of them. The reigning NFL MVP tested positive last Thursday, but the Ravens hope he will be back in time to play against Dallas on Tuesday night.
The NFL is further limiting player access to team facilities as it attempts to enhance safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a memo sent to the 32 clubs and obtained by the Associated Press, teams must close facilities for two days after games, with some exceptions.
Beginning Monday, all teams playing on a Sunday must close those facilities the next two days — except for clubs playing on the subsequent Thursday. Only players needing medical attention for injuries or in rehab programs may enter the team complex.
Coaches can access the facility but must work in their own offices and can't conduct meetings except virtually.