Browns fan Eric Scalfano had been lounging around shirtless while watching TV in the basement of his family’s house when his mother spotted a rather large man outside and began shouting.
"My mom yells downstairs, ‘Myles Garrett is in the driveway!’" Scalfano said recently by phone. "So I’m freaking out. I ran upstairs, put a shirt on and I was actually at the door waiting for him."
As Garrett approached the front door, he realized Scalfano was basically losing his mind.
"I heard him through the glass before his mother opened the door," Garrett told the Beacon Journal/Ohio.com before a recent practice at Browns training camp. "He was like, ‘No frickin’ way.’ I thought that was the funniest thing."
Garrett arrived unannounced July 31 at the Scalfano household in Brunswick to personally deliver one of his No. 95 Browns jerseys and autograph it. Scalfano had earned the prize seven months earlier by giving Garrett a gift of his own.
On Dec. 29, Garrett, a dinosaur aficionado, issued the following challenge to his fans on Twitter: "If you see me today and have a dinosaur to trade for it, I will buy and sign a jersey for you. Have a blessed day. Every second is a gift."
Meanwhile, Garrett celebrated his 22nd birthday by bowling and playing miniature golf with family and friends at Scene75 Entertainment Center in Brunswick.
Scalfano, 18, is an employee at Scene75, so he learned Garrett’s whereabouts after some of his co-workers had spotted the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft. One of Scalfano’s colleagues also mentioned Garrett’s tweet, whereupon a light bulb went off for Scalfano. He got a plush dinosaur toy from the prize counter at the arcade and took it to Garrett.
A recent graduate of Holy Name High School who will attend Ohio University, Scalfano said Garrett told him to send a mailing address via direct message on Twitter so the former Texas A&M star could ship a signed jersey.
By the time training camp began on July 26, Scalfano still hadn’t received a jersey, so he sent Garrett a reminder via direct message. Garrett replied by telling Scalfano he could sign a jersey for him in person if he visited camp.
Scalfano said he attended camp on July 30 but couldn’t rendezvous with Garrett as he signed autographs.
"There was just a huge swarm of kids around, so I wasn’t able to reach him," Scalfano said. "So I [sent him a direct message] again. I said, ‘I tried to get to you. I couldn’t. So if you’re still up for mailing it, that would be awesome.’ And then the next day, he showed up at my house."
Scalfano’s jaw is still on the basement floor.
"It was surreal," he said. "It’s actually hard for me to remember it that well. I guess I was too surprised and in shock that he actually came to my house."
Scalfano’s mom, Patti, handed Garrett a sharpie so he could sign the jersey. She then photographed her son and Garrett holding the uniform together at the doorstep.
Scalfano tweeted the picture with the following caption: "I gave @MylesLGarrett a toy dinosaur 7 months ago... Today, he personally delivered a signed jersey to my house! A moment I will never forget."
Garrett said another fan found him on his birthday at Scene75 and also gave him a toy dinosaur. Garrett explained he mailed a jersey to that fan because he couldn’t make a longer drive to deliver it in person. Garrett said he has one of the dinosaurs in his locker at Browns headquarters in Berea and the other on his dresser at home.
"I’m just trying to show love to get love in return," he said. "It’s not as simple as I want people to love me. I’m just trying to show I care for this city, that they mean the world to me because they’ve been so accepting and they have our back through it all. Things are going to change [for the Browns], and I hope to be that driving force or at least part of it."