Several months ago, many anticipated that Baker Mayfield’s tenure as the Cleveland Browns‘ starting quarterback was coming to an end.
Someone in their front office said they’d prefer an “adult” under center, and right after that comment was made public, Mayfield demanded a trade.
After months of trying to make something happen, the Browns finally sent Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers.
The NFL, perhaps in an attempt to maximize ratings, scheduled some interesting Week 1 matchups, one of them being the Browns versus the Panthers.
That contest has suddenly taken on even more importance and intrigue.
According to Buffalo Bills reporter Cynthia Frelund, Mayfield said he’s “going to f*** them up,” referring to the Browns in Week 1.
It looks like, instead of simply being a game pitting a QB against his former team, this will now be a grudge match, at least in the mind of Mayfield.
Mayfield Had His Ups And Downs In Cleveland
In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Browns took Mayfield with the first overall pick, and there was lots of hope in Northeast Ohio that the team had finally found a legitimate franchise QB after decades of turmoil.
In fact, after LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers that July, some felt Mayfield had a chance to become the region’s new superstar and possibly championship-winning athlete.
He was a big time star at the University of Oklahoma, where he won the Heisman Trophy and led the Sooners to a Sugar Bowl win over Auburn Univerity.
He certainly looked good at times as a rookie, as he threw 27 touchdown passes, setting a new NFL rookie record.
However, Mayfield lost the Offensive Rookie of the Year balloting to New York Giants rookie Saquon Barkley.
2019 was a struggle for both Mayfield and the Browns, as he threw almost as many interceptions (21) as touchdowns (22), and the team finished just 6-10.
But the following year, he bounced back, posting a 95.9 passer rating and leading the Browns to their first playoff appearance in nearly 20 years.
Once there, they defeated their hated AFC North rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, 48-37, as Mayfield had a splendid outing, throwing three touchdown passes and collecting a total of 263 passing yards.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 21, 2021
It was Cleveland’s first NFL postseason victory since the 1994 season.
However, any hope for continued success was vanquished last season amidst an 8-9 record.
In Carolina, Mayfield will have the benefit of playing for a team that isn’t expected to do anything of note, as opposed to playing on a Browns team that has accumulated viable talent over the last few years and has been expected to always be competitive.
Myles Garrett Responds To Mayfield’s Comment
Previously, All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett said that Week 1 would be just another game, but that assumption has been torn asunder.
Still, Garrett doesn’t seem mad at his former teammate.
Myles Garrett responds to Baker Mayfield's "I’m going to f*** them up" remark 👀 pic.twitter.com/9GLm4xxabn
— FanSided (@FanSided) August 30, 2022
“We’ve known he has that type of demeanor and that attitude, and for better or for worse, it works for him,” Garrett told cleveland.com on Tuesday after practice. “And I’m not mad at him using that fire and that chip on his shoulder to help him play to the level he has.’’
Such banter certainly makes games, especially regular season games, much more interesting, as no one really loves watching a bland matchup that is devoid of any emotion.
With Mayfield’s replacement, Deshaun Watson suspended for the first 11 games of the schedule, it will be of utmost importance for the Browns to come out of Charlotte, N.C. with a victory.