Baker Mayfield might be saying all the right things about the Cleveland Browns when the press conference mics are on, but it appears the boisterous QB has something special planned for his former team that he’s shared more privately.
During her August 29 appearance on the “Around the NFL” podcast, Cynthia Frelund shared an exchange that she had with Mayfield after the Panthers’ final preseason game. She asked him specifically about the Panthers opener, which will come against the Browns on September 11.
“I said, ‘Go kick some butt, especially Week 1. I cannot wait,'” Frelund said. “He used some expletives, and I was like, ‘I just hope you’re ready.’ And he said, ‘I’m going to f*** them up.'”
Frelund, an NFL Media personality, was pressed on the exchange by host Dan Hanzus and she assured him that was how it went down with Mayfield.
Mayfield Has Been Clear Week 1 Matchup Means Extra
To anyone who has followed Mayfield’s career, his comments to Frelund probably aren’t surprising. But it was a conversation he probably felt would be kept under wraps. The former top pick is a notorious grudge holder, and his relationship with the Browns did not end well.
Mayfield struggled to churn out consistent production last season as he played through a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. The offense slumped and the Browns disappointed, finishing a highly anticipated season 8-9 and missing the playoffs.
Mayfield completed 60.5% of his passes for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. The Browns publicly committed to him after the season but eyed other options to upgrade the position. They openly courted Watson — who initially denied them — and Mayfield demanded a trade. Watson later changed course and landed with the Browns via a March blockbuster, which left Mayfield in limbo for the majority of the offseason.
He was eventually traded in July to the Panthers, where he won the starting job in camp. Mayfield will get the Browns out of the gate and said the matchup means a bit extra (although he didn’t include any expletives in that statement).
“When that time comes, three weeks from now, we are going to handle prepping for Cleveland. A lot of attachment there,” Mayfield told reporters on August 22. “I’m not going to be here and be a robot and say it doesn’t mean anything. It will, but right now all that matters is me continuing to improve until the regular season starts.”
Browns Star Myles Garrett Said ‘No Rivalry’ With Mayfield
The Browns haven’t done much to stir up anything extra when it comes to seeing Mayfield in Week 1. That could change once the game gets closer, but for now, guys like defensive end Myles Garrett are keeping it cool.
“He’s my former teammate, but there’s no rivalry there between me and him and there’s no rivalry there between the Panthers and the Browns,” Garrett said of Mayfield. “Yes, he was here, but that doesn’t mean I have an added sense of urgency to get to him. I want to play my best, and whatever’s in the cards that’s what’s in for me. But if I can help my team win, if I can put them in the best position to win, I’m going to do that.”
The Browns are listed as a slight 1.5-point underdog for the matchup, which will be in Carolina.