The Cleveland Browns are getting a new Baker Mayfield for 2020, thanks to him taking this offseason seriously.
Baker Mayfield may be back to his Oklahoma self. You know, the guy who ran onto the Buckeye’s turf and spiked the Sooners flag right into the center of the field? That’s exactly the kind of player the Cleveland Browns thought they were getting in 2018. Someone that wasn’t going to be bullied by opposing defenses, let coaches with no clue mess with their rhythms and see no need to debate sports talkshow hosts.
They thought they were getting a fighter, like the kid who made a statement in Columbus. That’s something that Mayfield didn’t look like in 2019, despite showing flashes in 2018. That 2019 Mayfield walked away from targeted questions like a person walks away from a nagging spouse. Chin slightly down, deflated and defeated. Mayfield looked like he had lost his confidence. He acted like that machismo that got him so far had packed its bags. His skillset looked tired and his enthusiasm was dulled.
The good news, Mayfield realized all that too. Mayfield spoke Friday to the media and admitted he lost his way in 2019, letting himself go physically and mentally.
"Having success all through high school and college and having that standard so high, and the past couple of years have just been a roller coaster of emotions and not nearly as much success as I’m used to. So I would say I lost myself, not having that success, not finding out what was working. I think I tried different ways of trying to have that success, and I didn’t find it. So I lost myself in that, and I wasn’t able to be who I [need to be] for these guys on the team."
The 2020 offseason was interesting for the whole team. Mostly Mayfield though. He kept quiet in the offseason, only doing the occasional, rudimentary interview. Largely keeping himself out of trouble, save for one ill-advised meet up with some teammates. He kept his mouth shut even when media members like Tony Grossi were gunning for him. He even improved his body, putting on four pounds of solid, lean muscle from the year before and coming into camp in better shape than at any point in his pro career.
He’s showing what a leader is on and off the field, by making smart choices and holding himself accountable. He’s looking like the leader fans always hoped he’d be.