Monday, September 26, 2022

New Panthers QB Baker Mayfield on Browns reunion in Week 1: ‘I’m gonna (expletive) them up’

Baker Mayfield said this offseason that the Browns100 percent” disrespected him when they reversed commitment to him in favor of Deshaun Watson, the ex-Texans star who’s suspended to start 2022. Now, the former No. 1 overall draft pick is eager to get revenge. With the Panthers set to host the Browns in their upcoming Sept. 11 season opener, Carolina’s new quarterback recently issued an unofficial warning to his old squad, per NFL Media: “I’m gonna f— them up.”

Appearing this week on the “Around the NFL” podcast, Cynthia Frelund revealed that she crossed paths with Mayfield after the Panthers’ preseason finale against the Bills on Friday. After wishing the QB well against his former team, she said Mayfield echoed her excitement for the reunion with his colorful remark.

“I walked up to him,” Frelund explained, “and I’m like, ‘Go kick some butt. Especially Week 1.’ And he used some expletives. I was like, ‘I just hope you’re ready.’ He’s like, ‘I’m gonna bleep them up,'” confirming he actually said “f— them up.” Frelund has since downplayed the comment, which came during their private exchange, but it’s a fitting precursor to what figures to be one of Week 1’s most dramatic matchups.

“We’ve known he has that type of demeanor and that attitude, and for better or for worse, it works for him,” Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett said of Mayfield’s reported comments, per Cleveland.com. “And I’m not mad at him using that fire and that chip on his shoulder to help him play to the level he has. He’s been successful in what he’s done. … We’ll take it and we’ll use it, and I’m hoping for a great matchup. I don’t think any less of him because he’s going out there and doing the same thing he did when he was with us. He’s the same guy personally, and maybe we’ll see a different Baker when we get on the field. Who knows?”

Mayfield has repeatedly expressed gratitude to the city of Cleveland and Browns fans for his four-year run as the team’s starting QB. But he’s also been transparent about wanting a fresh start. After an injury-riddled 2021 campaign, Mayfield was set to enter a contract year auditioning for the Browns’ long-term job. That is until Cleveland aggressively recruited — and ultimately landed — Watson in a polarizing trade, which included a record $230 million guaranteed contract for the former Houston standout.

Now, Mayfield is the unquestioned QB1 in Carolina, which acquired him via trade in July to compete with incumbent Sam Darnold.

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