NORMAN, Okla. – Following a whirlwind season, a former University of Oklahoma player will now be sporting a new uniform.
With the first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected Baker Mayfield, the outspoken and passionate quarterback for the University of Oklahoma.
A video posted by the university of Mayfield’s watch party shows that he didn’t celebrate alone. In addition to being surrounded by family and friends, he was also joined by former OU head coach Bob Stoops and current OU head coach Lincoln Riley.
“It’s been a long journey, a lot of work to get here. So when I’m sitting on the couch, a lot of thoughts are running through my head. As I start looking around at everybody in the room, just a bunch of different people that have been there through different stages of my life from the very beginning. Obviously, my immediate family, the friends, the coaches, the people that helped shape me when my family wasn’t there; it was everybody who was a part of the whole process. So for me, all those emotions at once, all the memories and thoughts running through my head. Getting a call from John Dorsey was a pretty special moment right there,” Mayfield said.
NFL analysts say they were surprised by the selection.
Although the Cleveland Browns didn’t win a single game last season, Mayfield says he is excited to get to work and hopes to change things around for the team.
“I’m excited, you know, I said at the combine that I’d love to be that guy to help turn them around and I think if anybody’s gonna do it, it’s gonna be me. It starts in the locker room, it starts leadership-wise with your teammates, changing the culture and installing a belief with everybody else. They have all the tools and the pieces, let’s just make it happen now,” Mayfield said.
After being picked as the first player overall, Mayfield had a special message for Sooner fans.
“Love you guys, appreciate your support. I’m sorry you’re now gonna have to wear orange, but we’re all gonna get through it together because we’re part of the dog pound now,” he laughed.
While taking the world of college football by storm, Mayfield became the sixth OU football player to become a Heisman Trophy winner this past season. He was also first-ever player to start as a walk-on to win the prestigious award.
After the season came to an end with the Sooners’ overtime loss to Georgia in the Rose Bowl, NFL analysts began discussing what was next for the quarterback.
While he is obviously talented, many analysts were concerned about whether teams would take a chance on him because of his antics off of the field.
After beating Ohio State at home 31-16, Mayfield attempted to plant an OU flag in the middle of the “O” at midfield as a celebration.
Two days later, Mayfield went before reporters and apologized for his actions.
Mayfield had to make another apology following his actions during the Kansas game. While OU was on its way to a blowout win over Kansas, Mayfield stunned coaches when he made a crude gesture on the sidelines.
“What I did today, tonight was unacceptable. I am a competitive player but what I did is unacceptable so I apologize. It’s disrespectful, it’s not the example I want to set, it’s not the legacy I want to leave at OU, so I truly do apologize,” Mayfield said. As punishment, Mayfield did not start against West Virginia and was not listed as a captain.
In an article published in The Players’ Tribune, Mayfield went on to explain that his passion for the game can lead to bad decisions.
“The truth is, I’m always going to remember what it was like being that kid who was too small to even be given a second look. I’m going to remember what it feels like to be doubted and how amazing it feels to overcome that doubt. In order to be my best, I need to play with an edge,” he wrote. “Sometimes my passion has been mistaken for immaturity- and there definitely were some moments when I was out of line that I ultimately apologized for. But these past four years, I was living out my lifelong dream, and I’m proud that I did it on my terms.”