“I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. It was the first time I had fun playing football in a few years,” Mayfield told media for the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship via the New York Post. “It brought that feeling of having that success and really remembering what it was all about, Kind of hit the reset button for me.”
Days after getting released by the Carolina Panthers on December 5, Mayfield debuted with the Rams in Hollywood style as he led a fourth-quarter comeback against the Las Vegas Raiders for a 17-16 win on December 8. His rally ironically came on the heels of Bucs quarterback Tom Brady leading a fourth-quarter comeback by the same score that week on December 5 in a 17-16 victory over the New Orleans Saints.
“To be around a coach like Sean McVay and a bunch of other guys… to be around those guys and to be in that offense and now looking forward to being in Tampa because it’s a very similar system with our new offensive coordinator [David Canales],” Mayfield said.
Whether or not Mayfield can match Smith’s turnaround and help alleviate the loss from Brady’s retirement remains to be seen. However, Mayfield had one word to sum up his upcoming season with the Bucs and training camp battle against Kyle Trask for the starting job.
“Revitalized,” Mayfield said. “I’m really excited and pumped up and just looking forward to the future.”
How Baker Mayfield Ended Up on Four Teams in a Year
Despite four stops in a year, Mayfield can envision a future more befitting of a No. 1 draft pick. The Cleveland Browns took him with the top pick in 2018, and he led the franchise to its first playoff win since 1994 during his four years by Lake Erie.
Cleveland changed course at quarterback in 2022 with a trade for Deshaun Watson, and the Browns traded Mayfield to the Panthers. Things didn’t work out for Mayfield there in just seven games with a 1-6 record, and the Panthers benched and released him.
Mayfield showed in four more games with the Rams that his debut wasn’t an anomaly. He led a 51-14 victory over the Denver Broncos on December 25, and he finished with 850 yards passing for four touchdowns versus two interceptions amid a 2-3 record.
Baker Mayfield Playing for Recent Champions of Late
That Rams team had an injury-riddled roster when he arrived, just a year after lifting the Lombardi Trophy. Now, Mayfield inherits a Bucs offense that still has key players from the 2020 Super Bowl run with Brady. Wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin still produce 1,000-yard seasons, and offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs and Ryan Jensen can still play at a Pro Bowl level.
“It was great to get to be around the whole staff, the organization, the teammates especially,” Mayfield said. “Get to know everybody and see just how they’ve had so much recent success and see the key pieces in that locker room.”