Revenge or not?
In fact, revenge. And why not?
Baker Mayfield has each proper to wish to stick it to the Browns.
By no means thoughts the message Mayfield tried to convey this week within the leadup to the showdown Sunday in opposition to his former staff in Charlotte, N.C., as he quarterbacks his new staff, the Panthers for the primary time of their uniform.
Mayfield believes he was wronged by the Browns, the staff that drafted him first general in 2018, and there’s no argument right here that Cleveland administration bungled its dealing with of its supposed franchise quarterback with its clumsy pursuit of Deshaun Watson.
Baker needs the blood of the Browns on Sunday. Don’t idiot your self into considering something in any other case.
And why shouldn’t Mayfield, who was traded to the Panthers for what amounted to a bag of balls in July 6, harbor unwell emotions towards his former staff?
Wouldn’t you are feeling not less than a bit bit slighted in case your employer, whom you made higher (Mayfield led Cleveland to the playoffs in 2020), unceremoniously changed you with an individual going through civil litigation for some two dozen counts of sexual harassment and assault (Watson) and handed him $230 million in assured cash?
“I’m grateful for the time I had in Cleveland,” Mayfield advised reporters as a part of his I’m-cool-with-everything marketing campaign this week. “I began my profession there. It ended abruptly and unexpectedly. However we’re right here now. All the things occurs for a cause, and I’m rolling with the punches and I’m glad to be a Panther.’’
Mayfield, who went 29-30 because the Browns starter in 4 seasons, just lately has dropped a sequence of salty hints about his Cleveland dismay, like a path of crumbs within the woods resulting in Sunday’s emotional showdown.
The primary got here unwittingly in the course of the Panthers Aug. 26 preseason recreation in opposition to the Payments when, in what was a non-public sideline dialog (not on digicam) with NFL Community analytics reporter Cynthia Frelund. Mayfield reportedly advised her, “I’m going to f–ok them up,’’ in reference to the Browns.
Mayfield, a couple of days later, denied utilizing that phrase, saying “all I did was agree’’ with what she mentioned to him. Frelund later confessed she ought to by no means have shared the non-public dialog in public on a podcast.
The thoughts video games continued, with Mayfield delivering some subliminal messages in regards to the Browns with the “Off The Leash’’ T-shirts he’s promoting for the opener Sunday at Financial institution of America Stadium.
Mayfield additionally took some delicate pictures at Browns head coach Kevin Stefanksi in reference to the latitude he has been given to audible by Panthers head coach Matt Rhule, saying, “This technique particularly I believe goes to suit me properly, simply having the ability to play free.’’
Cleveland cornerback Greg Newsome II mentioned of the Mayfield reunion: “I’d be mendacity if I mentioned it’s not going so as to add one thing.’’
Mayfield known as his debut in opposition to his former staff “an excellent storyline … as a result of I wasn’t anticipated to be out of Cleveland. However after Week 1, there’s 16 extra that actually, actually matter. That’s how I’m approaching it.”
That, too, is how Mayfield’s alternative (whereas Watson serves his suspension), Jacoby Brissett, is approaching the sport.
“I used to be not right here with him final 12 months, so I don’t care, actually,” Brissett advised reporters. “It’s the Browns versus the Panthers. It’s anonymous, faceless opponents.”
On this case, that cliché reply from Brissett doesn’t precisely apply.
“Clearly, there’s a number of attachment there,’’ Mayfield mentioned. “I’m not going to sit down right here and be a robotic and say it doesn’t imply something. It would.’’
Because it ought to.