BEREA, Ohio — Remember when Kevin Stefanski put the kibosh on Myles Garrett’s rec hoops dreams last summer?
Well, fuh-get about it.
Stefanski has parked his old basketball hoop smack dab in the middle of the Browns football fields, and players are enjoying raucous games of “knockout” after practice.
“It’s out there to watch (LB) Anthony Walker brick shot after shot (laughter),” Stefanski said after practice Wednesday on Day 2 of OTAs. “This is a true story, I bought that hope in Minnesota maybe three or four years ago. When we moved out here, I was living in these condos over here (adjacent to the the Browns practice facility) so we got that hoop delivered to the condos two years ago. COVID times, so we brought the basket and had it here in the parking lot so me and the kids would come over and shoot when we were living over here.”
When Stefanski, the son of longtime NBA exec Ed Stefanski, moved into his permanent home, the beloved hope didn’t make the cut.
“We left the basket here so that’s my hope,” Stefanski said. “Don’t break it, A-Walk. Having it out here, it’s amazing how much these guys love to shoot hoops. They just love it. They don’t care that it’s on the grass or they don’t care if the rim is bent and it’s an old basket. They just love that.”
But there’s also a method to Stefanski’s May Madness.
“Part of what that is No. 1 is have fun but no. 2 just competing,” he said. “Deshaun and (QB) Jacoby (Brissett) played knockout yesterday. Just to watch these guys compete, it is just such a pillar of what we are trying to do here.”
“Jacoby,” he said.
Cornerback Greg Newsome II, who played point guard at Glenbard North High in Illinois, loves the new recess vibe.
“I think that just shows you [Stefanski’s] approach to this team,” Newsome said. “He wants it to be a player-led team. Being able to have the players come together, play a little knockout, just have fun with each other. Obviously, when we’re on the field, it’s all serious, but you’ve got to kick back sometimes, just have fun and just enjoy the life.
“There’s not too many people that can say they’re NFL players, so you have to enjoy that every single day, and I think having a basketball hoop outside is just showing that we need to lighten up a little bit after practice.”
So who has knocked Newsome out so far?
“I haven’t played anybody, but I’ll probably beat everybody,” he said. “I’m probably the best basketball player on the team.”
The thunderous-dunking Garrett, who wasn’t at OTAs Wednesday while he worked out on his own, might have something to say about that.
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