Baker Mayfield isn’t going to apologize for being himself.
His biggest critics call it being arrogant, but Mayfield says it’s confidence. The Cleveland Browns quarterback says the criticism “is what it is” and he understands that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it’s impossible to make everybody happy, so he’s just going to stick to what he believes in.
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“Nowadays, I guess honesty and being straightforward is a little bit more rare,” Mayfield told Fox News in a recent interview. “I’ve never been one of those cookie-cutter guys. I want to be the very best, and that truly is my mindset. It always has been.”
That winning mindset has paid off. Coming off an 11-5 record in 2020 under head coach Kevin Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry’s leadership, the Browns have transformed into a legitimate destination for free agents this offseason.
With the recent acquisitions of defensive end Jadeveon Clowney — who will line up opposite of Myles Garrett — and defensive backs John Johnson III and Troy Hill, to help anchor the secondary, to go with the superstar-level players they already have, talent is no longer a question for the Browns.
Mayfield is excited for the opportunity to work with them because “they are guys that want to win, too.” He knows practice is going to be competitive this upcoming season, but it’s going to bring the best out of everyone and raise the bar to another level.
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The expectations are as high as ever in Cleveland.
“It’s been years in the making, but it takes having the right pieces and having the right guys involved for all of this to happen,” Mayfield said on behalf of BODYARMOR.
Some Browns fans may feel it has taken forever for the team to get competitive and Mayfield understands that.
“It’s been a process that’s for sure,” says Mayfield, “It takes bringing in the right people and setting a new standard.”
As a result, Mayfield admitted there are now “expectations of what needs to happen every single day, and how we as professional athletes and as a staff, are going to conduct ourselves towards working to that main goal of winning a Super Bowl. It definitely helps to have a bunch of guys that are on the same page and are aligned with that goal.”
Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, is coming off his best season as a pro. He threw for 3,563 passing yards with 26 touchdowns and a career-low eight interceptions while leading the Browns to their first postseason appearance in 18 years.
In the wild-card round of the playoffs, Mayfield completed 21 of 34 passes for 263 yards with three touchdowns to lead the Browns to a 48-37 victory over their AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers, clinching their first postseason victory since 1995.
A week later, Cleveland fell to the eventual AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs in a heartbreaking loss but heading into the 2021 season, Mayfield wants the NFL world to know that the Browns are here to stay.
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As for the upcoming season, Mayfield said, “You always want to go into the year setting your goals as high as possible. And the ultimate goal for any football team is the Super Bowl.”
While every NFL player targets the Super Bowl as a goal, Mayfield said his resolve runs deeper.
“I hate losing more than I love winning. And I think that’s the mentality that I’ve been fortunate to have, and it’s been built within me because of my family and because of the competition where I grew up,” said Mayfield, “I’m happy with how I was raised and the people that helped me get there, and I’ve had a ton of people in my corner that have been the reasons why I’m here. And I’m proud of that. And I wouldn’t say otherwise.”