The Oklahoma skipper tweeted a viral video of a young baseball player “running” home and slowly tumbling into a slide, touching the plate. Riley joked: “Exactly how I felt in 2015 trying to coach Baker Mayfield to slide.”
Mayfield responded: “You know it had to be my own idea…”
Riley and Mayfield have a good relationship, with Mayfield thriving in his system at Oklahoma, winning the Heisman in 2017 and being selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft. He passed for 4,627 yards and 43 touchdowns during his Heisman campaign in 2017 and added over 1,000 yards on the ground during his college career in Norman.
Mayfield has used his legs on occasion with the Browns, with one of the most important runs of his career coming in last year’s regular-season finale. Mayfield took the snap and followed his blockers on a designed run dubbed “Maserati” that clinched the game and a playoff berth for the Browns. It looks like Mayfield tried to slide, although it looked very close to the video Riley posted.
Riley Has Weighed in on Baker Mayfield in the NFL
Mayfield had a rough second season in the NFL, a victim of inconsistency and some questionable playcalling. After setting the record for passing touchdowns by a rookie, Mayfield tossed 22 touchdowns and a whopping 21 interceptions as the Freddie Kitchens-led offense floundered.
Riley knows Mayfield better than most and expected him to bounce back.
“Baker would be the first to admit, and he has, that he has to play better and he will,” Riley said while appearing on ESPN’s First Take. “Having an organized cast around you, guys that are healthy, a system that fits — it takes everything. And if one little part is off — whether it’s another player, somebody being hurt, a scheme that doesn’t fit, whatever, if any part of it’s off, then it’s going to show. Especially at that level.
“I would expect for him to do what he’s always done anytime he’s got knocked down,” Riley said, “which is he gets back up and he fights and he normally finds a way to win. I fully expect he’ll do that again.”
He was right, with Mayfield stepping up his game and looking like a franchise quarterback. He surged down the stretch, passing for 26 touchdowns and just eight interceptions, helping lead the Browns to their first postseason victory in over a quarter-century.
Baker Mayfield Being Patient About Long-Term Deal
The Browns picked up Mayfield’s fifth-year option this offseason, keeping him in Cleveland the next two years — at least.
The next step for the Browns is to reach a long-term agreement with Mayfield, although there’s no rush from the former top pick.
“The fifth-year option just happened so a long-term deal is a little bit on the back burner for me,” Mayfield said. “I am not worried about it. I want to go out and win games. I think everything happens for a reason so we will see what happens.”