CLEVELAND, Ohio – In his new role as a quarterback in the NFL, Baker Mayfield is already making headlines following his first performance in the National Football League.
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.
After being selected by the Browns, Mayfield said he was excited to get to work and change things around for a team that didn’t win a single game last season.
“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.
On Thursday night, Mayfield led the Browns to a 20-10 preseason win over the New York Giants.
Mayfield replaced Browns starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor late in the first quarter and stunned fans with his decision-making skills and quick feet.
Overall, he completed 11 of 20 passes for 212 yards, threw two touchdowns, didn’t turn the ball over and converted two fourth-down plays on the ground.
“The whole routine was different for me,” Mayfield told ESPN. “It was the first time going on the road with a new team, first time in the NFL. Just some new things for me. I wouldn’t say it was anything nerve-racking, but a lot of firsts today that I’m glad I got under my belt so I can get more comfortable as I go down the road.”
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.”