Former Cleveland Browns offensive line coach Bob Wylie still remember the moment clearly.
His offensive line came jogging to the sideline giggling after Baker Mayfield had just led the team to a field goal before the half in his first taste of NFL action, coming in for a concussed Tyrod Taylor.
Wylie revealed on ESPN’s morning show “Get Up” that Mayfield’s trash talking reputation started the moment he stepped on the field in the NFL, which drew the laughs and signaled to the Browns’ big men that they had found “their guy.”
“The offense line comes to me and (guard) Joel Bitonio is laughing. I asked what he’s laughing about and he said Baker came in and somebody on the defense — one of the linebackers or defensive lineman — said, ‘Hey Baker Mayfield, hey rookie. We’re going to come and get you. We’re going to come and get you Baker.’ And Baker turned around, looked at him and said, ‘I don’t even know who you are.’ Right there Joel Bitonio said ‘That’s our guy right there.’ They loved it. They absolutely loved it.”
Now we just need the mic’d up audio from that game.
Wylie was also asked to describe Baker Mayfield in one word and he chose: gunslinger.
“He studies, he’s prepared, he loves to play the game. He brings a lot of emotion to the field,” Wylie said. “But you kind of have to corral him a bit because he will play outside the box. It’s up to the coaches to keep him from doing things he may just ad-lib and do.”
In just 13 starts, Mayfield threw for 3,725 yards and 27 touchdowns last season. The Browns finished 7-8-1, winning five of their final seven games, just missing the playoffs but giving fans hope about what was to come.
Bob Wylie’s Time With the Cleveland Browns
Baker Mayfield and head coach Freddie Kitchens are golden quote machines, but offensive line coaches rarely disappoint either it’s time for their moment in the spotlight. Wiley certainly fit that billing, becoming a star for his jiggling belly and “hut” call on HBO’s Hard Knocks last season.
While Wiley’s resume in football extends back nearly four decades, it was his ridiculous sayings that made him a star with the Browns.
“I’d rather watch a plant grow than stretch,” Wiley was heard saying on Hard Knocks. “Did you know, World War I and World War II, all those guys that fought in that war … they did pushups, jumping jacks, situps, climb the rope and ran. None of this fancy (expletive).”
Wiley did not survive the coaching turnover this offseason when Freddie Kitchens took over.
Baker Mayfield’s Outspoken Personality Embraced by Browns
Mayfield’s flag-planting, crotch-grabbing antics of college haven’t been carried over to the NFL, but the QB has maintained his outspoken personality, which isn’t a bad thing. As Wylie’s story illustrates, the swagger Mayfield plays with draws people to him.
Odell Beckham Jr. noted as much when asked about what makes his new QB special.
“I think it’s the confidence he carries himself with,” Beckham said at minicamp. “You can’t coach that. You have to love that about him.”
Head coach Freddie Kitchens isn’t concerned about it either. He spoke on the team’s plan to let Mayfield speak his mind during a training camp press conference.
“Baker knows what he is doing. He is not just a guy that is just flying by the seat of his pants,” Kitchens said. “A lot of people confuse him with somebody that does not know what he is doing. He is not like that now. Don’t ever have a misconception about that. I want everybody to be themselves and then it is up to us to determine if we like that or not. We like Baker. We want him to continue doing what he is doing.”