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When you hear the name Myles Garrett, one of two images probably springs to mind. If you’re a Cleveland Browns fan, you might imagine the defensive end chasing down the opposing quarterback for a big-time sack; if you don’t see the former-first-overall pick too often, then you might remember him hitting Mason Rudolph with his own helmet. Either way, the lineman isn’t someone you’d want to mess with.

Despite being a pretty tough customer, Myles Garrett still had a tough time fighting against an invisible opponent. While he’s been cleared to return to action, the lineman still is dealing with complications of COVID-19.

Myles Garrett has had a pretty impressive football career

Thanks to the Browns’ lowly standing in the modern NFL, Cleveland’s players don’t always receive the most press outside of the midwest. Just about every football fan, however, knows about Myles Garrett.

After making a name for himself in high school, Garrett enrolled at Texas A&M. He exploded onto the national stage as a freshman, piling up 11 sacks; he spent two more campaigns with the Aggies, terrorizing quarterbacks every weekend, before entering into the 2017 NFL draft. The Cleveland Browns went on to snag him with the first-overall pick.

While injuries limited him during his rookie campaign, Garrett still recorded seven sacks during the 2017 season; the following year, he played all 16 games and took down the opposing quarterback 13.5 times. 2019 was blighted by an ugly incident against the Steelers—Garrett ripped Mason Rudolph’s helmet off and hit him over the head with it—but the defensive end returned from suspension in 2020 to rejoin the resurgent Cleveland Browns.

Coming down with COVID-19

If you’re an opposing quarterback, Miles Garrett must seem like a pretty terrifying guy. Earlier this year, though, the lineman was forced out of action by some microscopic germs and a case of COVID-19.

On November 20, the Browns announced that Garrett was going onto the  reserve/COVID-19 list. While no injury report—let alone one about the coronavirus—is chock full of details, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert did provide some background on the defensive end’s situation.

“The Myles Garrett situation in Cleveland is instructive. Had general illness symptoms earlier this week. Negative for COVID-19,” Seifert explained on Twitter. “Sent home and isolated, per NFL protocol. Returned positive test today. Early isolation minimized chance of spread or high-risk close contacts.”

Garrett returned to action on December 1; in total, he missed two games.

Myles Garrett is still dealing with some lingering COVID-19 symptoms

Since Myles Garrett was officially cleared to return to the gridiron, he’s played in three NFL games. Despite that reality, though, he’s still dealing with some lingering symptoms.

After the Browns’ Week 15 game, Garrett fielded a question about “how much longer it takes him to feel 100 percent after a game,” given his experiences with COVID-19. The defensive end’s response wasn’t as positive as some may have expected.

“I am not sure,” Garrett explained, according to the Browns’ official website. I am just getting over a coughing fit from the locker room earlier. I am trying to get some water into my system and be able to breathe. Taking those deep big breaths are tough right now with the shortness of breath and that turning into a cough or getting choked up. You just have to find a way.”

The defensive end also explained that, despite his clean bill of health, it’s still not easy to play professional football.

“It’s bound to affect your lungs, and I feel like I need those to be out there and give my full effort,” he continued. “It is hard to make a move or do something that you know is going to expend a lot of energy, knowing that you have to do it again the next play and the next play. It kind of throws off what I am doing, but just have to go out there and make it happen. … It is tough. I am trying not to think about it during the game. Just make sure I get as much oxygen as I can and keep rolling.”

Stats courtesy of Sports-Reference and Pro-Football-Reference