KIRTLAND — Browns defensive end Myles Garrett may have further endeared himself to the Dawg Pound while also doing the same with dog owners Wednesday afternoon.
Garrett, who is a cornerstone of the Browns defense, announced on Twitter earlier in the week he'd make a pop-up appearance at Kirtland’s Lake Metroparks Canine Meadow, a dog park replete with areas for small and large dogs along with a swimming hole. He brought his 11-week-old puppy, Gohan, a black German shepherd he adopted from Missouri several weeks ago, for a puppy play date.
With that single tweet, about 150 Browns fans showed up from Cleveland’s far eastern and western suburbs, braving temperatures in the low 40s, practically all of them with canine family members ranging from pocketbook pooches to Goliath-like St. Bernards, expressing their support for Garrett and the Browns.
“Myles Garrett,” Chardon’s Nathan Fairman said when asked why he endured the cloudy, frigid weather with his dog. “My aunt got me into the Browns, I think when I was 6 years old. My kids scream, ‘Go Browns!’ with me all the time.”
Rebecca Yoder, a psychologist from Willoughby, expressed a similar sentiment. She said she would have come out had it even been a couple of years ago when the team was in the midst of league-wide ignominy.
“I came here because I am loyal to my Browns,” she said, “and I would love to see Myles Garrett and let my dog play with his dog and see him open up to his fan base and chill with us.”
The doggie turnout surprised Garrett, who arrived late because Gohan — as puppies are known to do — created a smelly, messy accident in the 6-foot-4, 272-pound player’s vehicle.
“I saw the poll that we won for the best fans in the league, so I knew they were going to turn up,” he said. “I didn’t know we had this many dog lovers.”
Garrett said the idea came to him as a way for Gohan to socialize with more people and other dogs.
“I reached out to the Dawg Pound to see how they could help,” he said.
After his arrival, there wasn’t much chill time as Garrett was occupied, but not with autographs.
While Gohan, who Garrett named for his favorite character in the anime TV show “Dragon Ball Z,” frolicked about with other dogs and played with a ball kicked around by a family member, the Browns star had little problem honoring what seemed like an endless stream of requests to take pictures with pooches and/or their owners.
“I think it’s awesome,” Fairman said. “I especially think it was cool he didn’t want to do autographs, like he just wants to hang out with the people that root for him and get to know his community. That’s really cool.”
And Garrett could do it again depending on turnout and depending on where he can travel. He said he’ll try get to others who were recommended to him on social media.
“Eventually, I’ll move to those and try to get closer to more fans so we can make this a bigger event,” he said. “I want to make this kind of the thing.”