There’s no love lost between Cleveland Browns star pass-rusher Myles Garrett and his former quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Garrett and Mayfield were back-to-back No. 1 overall picks of the Browns in 2017 and 2018, respectively. But their four-year partnership as friends, teammates and leaders in the Cleveland locker room was tumultuous.
The rocky relationship was detailed by Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, who spoke to Garrett about Mayfield ahead of the two squaring off in Week 1.
“It never is (easy). Winning takes a lot. It’s not going to be easy come, easy go. … It’s always mentally straining,” Garrett said of working alongside Mayfield, via Cabot. “Guys are going to say and do things that they wouldn’t normally do and they’re going to listen and be receptive to things they haven’t normally done or have to do. So it was a slightly complicated relationship, but that’s how it is each year. There are new guys coming in, old guys coming in and same thing. Some guys who just came are going out, but you have to keep that same standard and you have to bring that same intensity year to year.”
Multiple Factors Strained Garrett’s Relationship With QB
Having differing leadership styles was a sticking point for both Mayfield and Garrett, who “felt something had to change for the 2022 season, whatever that might be,” per Cabot. That manifested, with the Browns heavily pursuing and then landing Deshaun Watson and Mayfield being sent to Carolina.
Aside from their clashing personalities, Garrett was also upset about the unceremonious departure of Odell Beckham Jr. and Mayfield’s role in it. But what might have been the most significant moment that strained the relationship was when Mayfield publicly called out Garrett following the helmet-swinging incident against the Steelers in 2019.
Following the incident, Mayfield called it “inexcusable” and that Garrett “hurt this team” while being interviewed after the game. That didn’t sit well with the veterans in the locker room or Garrett and affected their relationship going forward.
Garrett Rejected Goodbye Text From Mayfield
Garrett said Mayfield sent him a parting text message on his way out the door after he was traded to the Panthers. The well-spoken defensive end did not respond.
“I read (the text) but you know, there were some disagreements we had at a base level and I’m not mad at the guy or feeling any way towards it, but I just didn’t know how to reply to that, so I didn’t,” Garrett told Cabot. “But I still think he’s a hell of a competitor and he’s a great guy to have on your side and I’m rooting for him. I think he has a great family, but he’s the opposition now, and at the end of the day, I’ve got to take him out.”
Garrett will get a chance to take out some of his frustrations when he sees Mayfield on Sunday for the opener. He’s fresh off of a franchise record-setting 16 sack season and will be looking to start the season out on the right foot by getting to his former QB a few times.