Baker Mayfield is feeling the heat over an alleged remark he made about facing the Cleveland Browns in Week 1.
The initial news of the sentiment from Mayfield came from an exchange with sideline reporter Cynthia Frelund of the NFL Network. During her August 29 appearance on the “Around the NFL” podcast, she shared the 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 walked up to him and said, ‘I’m so excited to see you, like, go kick some butt,’ I didn’t say that word,” Frelund said. “… Go kick some butt, especially Week 1, I like cannot wait. And he uses some expletives and I was like, ‘I just hope you’re like ready.’ He was like, ‘I’m gonna bleep them up.”
“Well first, I didn’t say it. Obviously, everybody’s gonna write whatever story they want. There’s history that I played there the last four years,” Mayfield told reporters gathered at Panthers practice on August 31. “I’m an extremely competitive person, everybody knows that. If I wasn’t wanting to win then there would be a really big issue with me being quarterback here. I wanna win in everything I do. That will never change.
“That is not how I phrased it, that’s not even what I said, so I’ll just leave it at that. I didn’t even say anything. … All I did was agree [that] I hope we win.”
Stephen A. Smith: Mayfield Made Mistake in Denial
While Mayfield has denied the comments, anyone who has followed his career knows it wouldn’t be too out of character if that was his mindset on facing his former team and something he was saying in confidence, off the record.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith thinks Mayfield has made a mistake by denying it so vehemtley and it might be the fact that he knows the Browns defense — led by Myles Garrett — will be a little more hungry to spoil his Panthers debut.
“That’s what he said. I believe he said that and feels that — that’s no problem. Where he’s making the mistake is the extended effort he has exercised in denying it,” Smith said on Thursday’s edition of First Take. “What that says to me is that he’s a little worried about Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney, Denzel Ward and those boys. They looking at you and licking their chops — we going to eat this boy up. He’s in a world of trouble.”
Myles Garrett Said Statement Added Extra Motivation
The Browns players asked about Mayfield’s comments have handled it gracefully, including Garrett.
“We’ll take it and we’ll use it, and I’m hoping for a great matchup,” Garrett said on August 30. “I don’t think any less of him because he’s going out there and doing the same thing he did when he was with us. He’s the same guy personally, and maybe we’ll see a different Baker when we get on the field. Who knows?”
Second-year cornerback Greg Newsome II had a similar sentiment on Mayfield.
“When I first heard it, I did not think anything about it. He is a competitor,” Newsome said on August 31. “We had him last year, and I know how he is as a person. He is a competitor. I did not feel any type of way about it.”