Expectations for Year 2 will be off the charts for Baker Mayfield and the Browns after they acquired Odell Beckham Jr. With a budding star in Mayfield at quarterback, a superstar in Beckham out wide, and oddsmakers installing the Browns among the favorites in the AFC this upcoming season, the attention on the franchise is at an all time high.
But after the level of success he achieved in his rookie season and the kind of attention he and his squad have received this off-season, it's brought out plenty of haters. Like one specific Fox Sports radio/TV host—we’re talking about Colin Cowherd—who not only continues to question Mayfield’s leadership qualities but has also called out his superstar teammate. Mayfield’s getting fed up with the noise.
“He’s supposed to bring out facts and he chooses to put out irrational opinions,” Mayfield told Complex Sports. “People can say what they want, they can say I’m not really supposed to comment on this, but a liar is a liar and a guy that is really just full of it needs to be put in his place.”
We talked to Mayfield about the on-going feud with Cowherd, how Beckham Jr. is different than he’s perceived in the media, the high expectations on his second season, and future battles with his former Oklahoma teammate, and fellow Heisman Trophy winner, Kyler Murray.
(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
You’re out in LA shooting a spot with Bose. You’re known to practice and warmup with headphones. What do you think of the of sunglasses with the built-in speakers?
I was really taken back. I’ve never seen anything like this. I was pretty surprised by it but they’re awesome. It’s a great investment and it’s pretty useful. Sometimes your glasses can get in the way of your headphones so why not make it 2-in-1.
What are three songs you’d bump while rocking those sunglasses?
I don’t think you can rock those glasses and have a slow song. I’ll play some Justin Timberlake on there, I’ll play some Sammy Wilk, maybe a little Playboi Carti to mix it up. You can’t be in a bad mood and have those glasses on.
Switching to football, the Browns went 0-16 before you got there and went to 7-8-1 last year, what was that like handling the pressure and being crowned the next savior of the city?
I wouldn’t say that yet (laughs). It’s been fun. It’s a football town. You can just tell with the energy and the hype when I first got there that everyone was so excited. Even though it’s been a rough few years, that first win I’ll never forget, that energy and feeling around town. People love their football.
He’s a real life superstar. Everybody has a different opinion on him but who he is behind closed doors without everyone judging him, he’s a great guy, he’s a family guy, great values. He loves to work, he loves to earn everything he’s going to get and that’s the mentality you want to have.
This is going to be your first full season as a starter. What’s the next step for you?
I’m going to take it one day at a time. My goal is to win more games than last year and win the division. You got to accomplish one goal at a time. Obviously, everyone wants to be planning for a Super Bowl and that’s always what you want to aim for, but you got to compete for your division and try to win each week to get there.
You guys added Odell this offseason. How excited are you to play with him and how thankful are you to the Giants for giving him up?
I’m really excited. His talent speaks for itself. He’s obviously a once-in-a-generation type athlete and it’s amazing but the guy he is for the locker room; the intensity, the passion for the game will do wonders for us. His leadership and guys looking up to him all the time will be great for him and great for us.
He’s caught some slack from the media for his character. What are your thoughts on that and who he is as a person?
I’ve gotten to know him because he was teammates with college teammate, Sterling Shepard, so I’ve talked to him a couple times throughout the years. He loves the game. People are going to have their perceptions on him. He’s a real life superstar. Everybody has a different opinion on him but who he is behind closed doors without everyone judging him, he’s a great guy, he’s a family guy, great values. He loves to work, he loves to earn everything he’s going to get and that’s the mentality you want to have.
There have been some haters in the media, that’s always going to happen. We’ve seen your battles with Colin Cowherd. Do you feel like you sometimes have to put the media in their place?
You know, there’s people like that who are really abusing their position. Abusing a platform to a point where people are going to listen to it. He’s supposed to bring out facts and he chooses to put out irrational opinions. People can say what they want, they can say I’m not really supposed to comment on this but a liar is a liar and a guy that is really just full of it needs to be put in his place. I’ll be the first one to tell you I’m not always right. I know my flaws and I’d love for people to correct me so I get better. He’s a guy who thinks he’s always right. He throws people names under the bus. He can say what he wants about me, but as soon as he starts talking about my teammates, that’s when I have a problem.
We’ve seen your dance moves, we’ve seen Odell’s dance moves, we’ve seen Jarvis’ dance moves. Will we see a group celebration from you guys in the end zone?
Man, I hope we do it a couple times.
Kyler Murray went No. 1. The knock on you both coming into the draft was you were both too short. You think that narrative of short QBs not being successful in the NFL will die anytime soon?
I think we’ve had some guys that led the way. I think people are slowly starting to realize it’s about winning. It’s about what you bring to the table and not all of that can be measurable. Kyler has been a winner his whole life. You look at his high school career, never losing and going into college and winning. He’s going to continue that. Some people have [it] or some don’t. He’s one of the guys that have it.
You guys will actually be playing against each other this year in Arizona. How excited are you to battle against him and will there be smack talk before the game?
There will absolutely be smack talk. That’s my guy. It’ll be fun to play against him after competing against him in practice and being around him everyday. It’ll make this matchup so much more enjoyable. I will be looking forward to watching him go through his first year. We get to play him in December so it’ll be cool seeing how he grows throughout the year. It’s a process. I had to learn that the hard way but I’ll be there to support him.
We’ve seen Jarvis and Odell throw passes in the past. Obviously you don’t want to give your playbook up but could we expect some special play with you catching passes from Odell or Jarvis?
I would hope I can catch multiple passes so they can talk smack to each other about who can throw it better.
I know you’ll say you guys can win the Super Bowl this year so tell me why it’s possible?
We got a great GM and support staff. They’re making the right moves and we’re putting a team together with all the potential and pieces right there. They did their job and now we have to use this time to see what we’re going to made of and what type of team we can be and put it all together. Like I said, we have to take it one game at a time. You never want to peak too early, you want to get better each and every week. That’s why you see teams like New England play their best football when playoff time comes so we want to keep getting better throughout the year.