Baker Mayfield didn’t hold back when asked about Duke Johnson Jr.’s trade request at Cleveland Browns minicamp, and it turns out some of his veteran teammates took issue with what the second-year quarterback said.
Mayfield ripped Johnson when asked about how a player wanting to be traded affects the locker room.
“It’s not awkward. It’s self-inflicted,” Mayfield said. “I hope he does his job.
“If someone wants to be here, they’ll be here,” Mayfield added. “You got guys in our locker room that are dying to get playing time and dying to be here. Duke has been here for years but it’s about what are you doing right now.”
Michael Silver of NFL.com reported that Mayfield’s comments didn’t sit well with veterans in the locker room.
“It is rather striking for a player to get involved in a teammate’s business in anything but a supportive role. Baker Mayfield is the clear leader of that team, but … I’m told by multiple sources that several veterans came up to him in the locker room after those comments about Duke Johnson and let’s just say voiced their displeasure, saying, ‘Listen, it’s one thing to be a leader but this is a guy who’s going through something, it’s business, and we need to support him.’ Baker may not have agreed with them, but he heard them. So that is something to keep an eye on as a very, very talented team gets ready for what could be a very big season,” Silver reported on NFL Network.
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It’s somewhat of an unwritten rule to not get involved in other players business, especially when it involves trades and contracts.
Jarvis Landry, a veteran wide receiver, showed a little more restraint when asked about the issue.
“I hope he understands and feels that guys are here for him,” Landry said. “Whether he is here or not, that the relationship goes beyond the player, obviously the person as well. I definitely hope he understands that and knows that there are guys that are here for him.”
Johnson requested the trade after Kareem Hunt was picked up in the offseason, seeing his role in the offensive shrinking to an insignificant size.
“I want to be somewhere I am wanted. I think at the end of the day that is all this is about is about being somewhere you are wanted,” Johnson said. “Nothing has changed. The only difference between last week and this week is this is mandatory, and I am here.”
Johnson had 47 receptions for 429 yards and three touchdowns last season. While he does most of his damage in the passing game, Johnson added 40 carries for 201 yards on the ground. His number of carries and catches were career lows.
He’s also one of the most veteran Browns on the roster, having survived the dreaded 0-16 season of 2017.
Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens also had a harsh take on the running back’s request out of town and has repeatedly stated he will have a role in the offense.
“He wants to be traded,” Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens said via Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network. “I want to win the lottery. It doesn’t matter. He’s under contract. He’s a Cleveland Brown he’s going to be used to the best of his ability in what benefits the team.”
Kitchens expanded, addressing the notion that Johnson did not feel the team way loyal to him, putting him on the trade block before he issued his request. Kitchens maintains he was not aware of that.
“I expect Duke to be a professional and I think he will be. He’s never been anything but a professional. Whatever his personal feelings are, those are his personal feelings. I’m not going to dictate someone’s feelings. Just like I told you about other players in the past, whatever their feelings are, they’re free to voice whatever they want to say.”
Mayfield Criticized by Legendary Rapper ‘Uncle Luke’
The Browns players were not the only ones taking issue with Mayfield’s comments.
2 Live Crew’s Uncle Luke, also known as Luther Campbell, took major issue with the way Mayfield answered the questions about Johnson.
“F— Baker Mayfield for saying that dumb s— about Duke Johnson,” Campbell tweeted out on Wednesday. “I guarantee you be the one to divide this locker room up. You are not in Texas at Cracker Barrel.”
He continued the barrage on Baker.
“Hey @bakermayfield this will be my last tweet to you.
Brett Favre traded
Joe Montana treated.
Peyton Manning traded
Drew Brees traded.
Dan Marino told to go home
Don’t ever turn on your teammates for management you are not exempt”