Charlotte, Nick — Baker Mayfield He has a reputation for so-called “revenge” games, but the Carolina Panthers quarterback insists he doesn’t view Sunday’s opening game against Cleveland that way even though his time with the Browns ended “abruptly and unexpectedly.”
“It’s a great story,” Mayfield said on Wednesday. “There is clearly a history going before this week. [But] There are other NFL games they play (against) their former team. It’s just the excitement before the first week that builds this expectation. It is familiarity. ”
Mayfield spent his first four seasons in the NFL with the Browns, which made him the top pick in the 2018 draft. He was traded to Carolina in July, nearly three months after buying Cleveland Deshaun Watson From Houston Texas.
“Anytime you play with guys that you know, it just makes it more interesting, more fun,” Mayfield said. “You have to talk to your guys that you’ve been with for a little bit. You know how to prick and prod and get the best results.”
“I am looking forward to this opportunity.”
If he had any hostility toward Brown, Mayfield would not show it.
He said, “I’m grateful for the time I had in Cleveland. I started my career there. The fans are there, it’s a soccer city. As I’ve mentioned many times, it ended so abruptly and unexpectedly, but we’re here now.”
“Everything happens for a reason. I take the punches. I am happy to be the tiger.”
Mayfield couldn’t even take credit for the PR team called “Off the Leash.” Put up for sale last week In anticipation of Sunday’s game.
One of the T-shirts features a head image of Mayfield wearing a cowboy hat from his college days with the Oklahoma Sooners with a toothy dog collar and broken chain below. Above his head is the phrase “Off the Steering”. The other simply has a picture of Mayfield in a leopard outfit running around with a cowboy hat that appears to have flown out of his head. Oklahoma) under it on each side of his last name.
“Oh, man,” Mayfield said, “I wish I could say I came in with the jerseys, but I have a team behind me. They put some hidden messages, just my history, and some subconscious things in there.”
“I think people back home who’ve been following me for a long time love it. It’s just such a fun thing to do.”
Mayfield is doing his best to make Sunday’s game all about enjoyment and get off to a good start for the Panthers, who also tried to trade for Watson. Carolina goalkeeper Austin Corbettwho spent his first year and a half with QB in Cleveland, loves this tactic.
He said, “That’s what the media want to see. We’re not here to make it a show about us. There are 16 more games coming after that home.”
wide future Richard Higginswho has spent the past four years in Cleveland with Mayfield, agreed, but suggested several times in the past month that QB finally show the character that defined his career.
“There’s no hatred for Cleveland,” Higgins said. “We were happy there. He came down to where he was. Right now we’re in this position to help the Panthers win, and that’s the only goal going forward.”
But Higgins expects to see Mayfield excel as he has in the other big games. He vividly recalled the 2020 game for Cleveland as Mayfield started 0-for-5 with an interception against rival Cincinnati Bengals, then completed 22 of 23 passes for 297 yards and five touchdowns in a 37-34 victory.
“When he’s up, he plays well,” Higgins said, referring to the abuse that watched a movie of that game earlier on Wednesday. “Let him eat, man, let him eat. Remember that motto, Do we all have to eat? Man, let him do whatever he wants. This is where he earned his trust. . . . It would be fun. I have nothing else to say. .”
Mayfield hasn’t said anything insulting about his former team since arriving in Carolina. But he delved into the memory of his past games against previous teams, like 2015 in Oklahoma when he beat Texas Tech, the team that let him move on two years ago. Oklahoma won that game 63-27, with Mayfield completing 15 of 22 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns.
Mayfield said, “Anytime you can relate from your past experiences, good or bad, you can always learn from them. Good or bad, you can always build on that. So I think it will help.”
While Mayfield admits it’s “all about winning,” his Sunday direct wish is simple.
He said of the Brown family running back, “A big hug from Nicholas Chubb would be a really good gift. Just hearing him say a word would be great too.”