Baker Mayfield had a frustrating sophomore season for the Cleveland Browns. The quarterback and former first overall pick struggled on the field, and his feelings about that would often bubble over when he was speaking to the media.
Mayfield is aware of that particular shortcoming. He had to confront it face-to-face on Friday when he appeared on ESPN’s “Get Up” with former New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan. He and Ryan had a war of words back in September when Ryan called him “overrated as hell,” and Mayfield responded by saying that Ryan didn’t have a head coaching job for a reason.
That was water under the bridge on Friday. Mayfield owned up to letting his frustrations get the best of him several times during the 2019 season.
“It’s a humbling experience. It’s a different ball game. I mean, let’s just be honest, I put my foot in my mouth a lot this past year,” Mayfield said. “And I’m going to internalize that, and I think that’s the way I need to handle it.”
Mayfield absolutely put his foot in his mouth a lot last season. Starting with his confident preseason prediction that the Browns were going to roll over everyone, Mayfield was a foot-in-mouth machine. His interaction with Ryan was just one of the many highlights.
There was that time he stormed out of a media session when a reporter asked a question he didn’t like. At one point he was fined for criticizing the referees, but that was nothing compared to him criticizing his own team’s medical staff for how they handled Odell Beckham Jr.’s lingering injury. Late in the season he was called out by a fan during a game, and then the fan completely owned him.
Baker: “Why don’t you come down here and tell me that to my face?”— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) December 29, 2019
Fan: “We’re not allowed to, you know that!” 😂 pic.twitter.com/ZxUZlwrE6a
Mayfield even had a joke or two about one of his performances during the season.
Baker Mayfield on ESPN when asked about playing the 49ers this season: "I don't know if you'd call what I did playing (against the 49ers). I was on the field at the same time." #Browns— Scott Patsko (@ScottPatsko) January 31, 2020
Mayfield was charming, honest, and self-effacing throughout the entire interview. He knows what he has to do in the 2020 season to keep himself under control and focused on winning football games.
“I mean, rest in peace, Kobe [Bryant], but that’s the way he did it. He motivated himself. He didn’t talk a lot. He talked to his teammates, drove them to be better people, better men, and so that’s the way I need to handle it. I don’t need to respond to the things that don’t matter, things that don’t help us win.”
Mayfield was eager to tell anyone and everyone before the 2019 season started that the Browns were going to blow the doors off the NFL. Now with a second (and humbling) NFL season under his belt, he’s not jumping to make any pronouncements about the 2020 Browns. With all the turnover in the organization, he just wants to get back with his team and get started on the 2020 season.
“I know we’re going to work,” Mayfield said. “I know what we’re going to do to handle it. I’m excited to get back to work with this new staff, starting fresh, starting clean with everybody.”
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