Baker Mayfield has a message for everyone: He’s not going to change.
That’s the general storyline from his Wednesday media availability, in which he touched on a number of topics, including his 25-yard moving staredown of former Browns coach Hue Jackson during the Browns’ win Sunday over the Bengals, as well as his teammates, the media and what’s at stake Sunday when the Browns (7-7-1) take on the AFC North-leading Ravens (9-6).
Cleveland has a shot at finishing above .500 for the first time since 2007, and the game also has playoff implications for Baltimore and, potentially, the Steelers.
In short, the rookie quarterback has a lot on his mind. So it’s instructive to listen to Baker Mayfield unfiltered.
1. On whether his on-field persona goes too far sometimes.
“That sounds like the exact questions I got before the (NFL) Combine. Not one bit. … Everybody’s different. That’s how it is. I’ve said it, I’m not a cookie-cutter quarterback, but everybody’s different. Everybody leads a different way. Everybody’s competitive in a different way. I’m not trying to be anybody else. I’ve been who I am, and that’s gotten me here.”
2. On how he’s perceived by teammates vs. everyone else.
“I’m not trying to get anybody’s approval. I’m trying to win football games and do this for as long as I can. That’s the goal. And the guys inside this locker room know that. They know I’ll fight for them. They know I’ll take a bullet for them, and to me that’s what matters. I don’t have to make any friends outside this locker room. I’m not trying to do that. Once they’re in there, they know exactly what they’re going to get, and that’s what really matters.”
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) December 26, 2018
3. On the lengthy staredown of Jackson.
“I don’t get why people have a problem with football being a competitive sport. You’re supposed to play with emotion. You’re supposed to play with passion. Quite honestly, if you don’t like it, whatever. Football is not meant to be a soft game. I could care less.”
“He’s a very accurate thrower of the football, and he also yesterday taunted a coach…Long-term I’ll take a grown up. I’ll take Wilson, Luck, Darnold. I won’t take taunting a coach who got fired & crazy, took another job.”@ColinCowherd on Baker Mayfield staring down Hue Jackson pic.twitter.com/p6eLVhDpq9
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) December 24, 2018
4. On media reaction to him, in particular an anti-Mayfield rant Monday by FS1’s Colin Cowherd.
“I said this after I went on (Cowherd’s) show: He’s very good at what he does. He gets an opinion going in the media, and then once you go onto his show, he’s very cordial and professional and then as soon as you leave he’s back at it. It creates viewers. It creates money and revenue flowing through his stuff, and I think he’s a very good businessman. Now if that is his real opinion or not, I don’t know, but in person he was very nice and it’s just funny to see how he gets people riled up. It’s entertaining.”
(Mayfield subsequently wished Cowherd a Merry Christmas, though he called him a “Grinch.”)
Merry Christmas to everybody!!! Enjoy your time with loved ones during this special time of the year!! ….. even to you @ColinCowherd ya Grinch
— Baker Mayfield (@bakermayfield) December 25, 2018
5. On the stakes in Sunday’s Week 17 matchup with the first-place Ravens.
“They’re fighting for a playoff spot, and we’re fighting to prove who we are. … It’s a lot of motivation. And it’s not just about them, it’s about us winning and going out on a high note. Even though the playoffs have been out of reach, it’s about us and that’s what it’s always been about. That’s the motivation, the true motivation. Taking care of business. Making sure that everybody knows that’s the standard around here. I keep talking about setting the standard, and winning is that standard. That’s the goal Sunday.”