CLEVELAND — If there was anyone left in Cleveland that hadn’t yet jumped aboard the Baker Mayfield Express, that ended Aug. 3 when he bit open a beer can at the Indians game and shotgunned it on the giant scoreboard.
His “gets-us” meter shot through the roof and he further endeared himself to long-suffering Browns fans awaiting their savior.
“The city has embraced me, that’s for sure,’’ he told Zach Frydenlund in the QB RV in Berea for Complex Sports as part of the BodyArmor media tour. “Just going back to mentality-wise, the work ethic that people here in Cleveland take pride in. I think it’s something that I’ve done my whole life, and so it just truly fits in. I think that I was born to play here, and that’s where I can relate to the people of Cleveland.’’
Still, he believes the media — likely referring to the Colin Cowherds of the world — don’t want the Browns to succeed.
“I think in the media and everything that comes with the hype around our team right now, people want to see us lose, just because the hype is so real,’’ he said. “But we’ve got to go out there and take it one week at a time. We’re trying to win every week.’’
He added it “it went from having excitement over Bud Light coolers being opened to now people waiting to see us lose so they can say, ‘Oh, they got too hyped up.’ That’s why you’ve got to have an even-keel mindset when it comes to that stuff.”
How will they deal with a loss or two in the season of great expectations?
“I’d say the chatter doesn’t matter,’’ he said. “The expectations for us within the locker room last year were higher than what we accomplished. Outside the locker room, people threw us in the trash before the season. They didn’t expect much out of us just because, the year before that, (the) Browns were 0-16. So, you know, you can only go up from there. And I think now we need to have the same mentality. It stays within that locker room.’’
On Odell Beckham Jr., Mayfield said “I think he’s such a real-life superstar that people do forget that he’s truly one of the greatest athletes in the world and how good he is at playing receiver and the game of football. I think he’s eager to get back out there and handle it on the field and just be himself again.”
Best receiver in the NFL this year?
“I wouldn’t set it that low for him,’’ Mayfield said. “I think he has his bar set very high, and that’s what we love around there is we’ve got a locker room full of guys that set high expectations for themselves but also want to win. And they know if you win, the individual accomplishments come with that.’’
As for Beckham’s recent Instagram photo of the two of them with the caption Shake and Bake, “It hasn’t been final stamped, but it’s something in the works. We’ll see.’’
Mayfield was asked about Hue Jackson’s recent remarks that it would be up to Mayfield to clear the air between the two.
“It’s not,’’ he said.
He said he’s free to be himself under Freddie Kitchens and in Cleveland and that he “won’t ever change.”
“I’ve always been myself — not trying to be anybody else — and what I’ve done my whole life has gotten me here,’’ he said. “There’s obviously improvements and things I have to work on every day. But how I handle myself and how I approach it, that can’t change. … I’m going to take care of my priorities and I’m going to focus on what I need to, and however I handle it, that’s how I need to do it.”