Baker Mayfield Sends Message to Browns After Being Named Starter

Baker Mayfield

Getty Images Baker Mayfield of the Carolina Panthers.

Baker Mayfield will get his shot at revenge against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 and is looking forward to seeing his former team when the season kicks off.

Mayfield was officially named the Carolina Panthers starter on Monday and he was clear during a press conference that the game will mean a little extra to him.

“When that time comes, three weeks from now, we are going to handle prepping for Cleveland. A lot of attachment there,” Mayfield told reporters. “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.”

The Browns, on the other hand, are not ready to start talking about the idea of facing the franchise’s former No. 1 overall pick on September 11.

“I did not see that,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said when asked about Mayfield’s recent placement atop Carolina’s depth chart. “We will wait to talk about Carolina until we get there. I am still in Week 3 of the preseason mode.”

Stefanski has turned down questions about the idea of facing Mayfield previously, wanting the QB battle in Carolina to shake out before entertaining the thought.

“I think [Browns GM Andrew Berry] and Carolina worked really hard on that over the course of weeks. Like a mentioned to you guys, that was a unique situation. I wish him well, I think he’s in a really good spot,” Stefanski told reporters from training camp on July 27. “We’ll see — I’m not going to speak for coach Rhule on who plays. We’ll have time to talk about those things.”

Mayfield’s Tenure With Browns Ended on Sour Note

Saying the breakup between Mayfield and the Browns was contentious might be an understatement. Mayfield struggled to churn out consistent production 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, missing the playoffs.

Mayfield completed 60.5% of his passes for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. The Browns committed to him after the season publicly 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.

Mayfield eventually landed with the Panthers, giving up some of his guaranteed money in the process. He was previously open that the Week 1 matchup is something he’s looking forward to.

“I’m not going to sit here and be a robot and tell you that’s not one I’ve marked on the calendar already,” Mayfield said in an interview posted July 12 on the Panthers’ team website. “One, that’s not who I am. To me, it’s about winning games. Whoever we have marked on the schedule, I’m going to try to win. Obviously, this one has a little more history and personal meaning, but for me, it’s about winning and setting the tone for the rest of the year, and however I can help this team do that, I’m going to do.”

Panthers Listed as Favorite Against the Browns for Week 1

The Browns just recently got clarity on their own quarterback situation, with Deshaun Watson settling for an 11-game suspension and hefty $5 million fine. That leaves veteran Jacoby Brissett as the starter opposite of Mayfield.

The Browns are listed as a slight 1.5-point underdog for the matchup, which will be in Carolina.

Brissett, 29, has put up 7,742 yards, 36 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in his career. He hasn’t played in a preseason game yet but the Browns expect him to be the Week 1 starter, despite rumors linking the team to 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo.

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