CLEVELAND — Before Baker Mayfield was selected by the Cleveland Browns with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, he made a statement at the NFL Scouting Combine about him being the one quarterback who could reverse the fortunes of a long-suffering franchise.
Mayfield had been underestimated twice in his life when he had to walk onto the football teams at Texas Tech and Oklahoma, knew what it was like to respond positively when adversity struck and developed into a Heisman Trophy winner..
“I just think it’s the things that I have gone through a lot in my life of, ‘what do you do when adversity hits?’” Mayfield said following Wednesday’s practice. “It has made me a little bit more knowledgeable of things like this. Nothing specifically that I have done is exactly this moment, but I have had experience facing adversity and a lot of these guys have as well.
“Somebody in this locker room has always faced adversity at some point in their life. It is just about being that person every day that this team needs in the position I am in being a captain and showing the way and setting the standard, like the things I have been talking about. I would not necessarily say that I am made for this moment. I think I was made to come here in Cleveland and try and set the standard and culture each and every day.”
Adversity hit the Browns hard last Friday when Pro Bowl defensive end Myles Garrett was slapped with an indefinite suspension for forcibly removing from and swinging a helmet at the head of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the waning seconds of a 21-7 Cleveland win on “Thursday Night Football.”
In addition to Garrett, the Browns lost Larry Ogunjobi for one game, as his suspension was upheld and he will not be available for Sunday’s matchup against the Miami Dolphins at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.
“Obviously, his talent speaks for itself and the plays he has made this year,” Mayfield said of Garrett.
“A great player, has been for this team for a while. We have to have a next man up mentality, and our guys know that. I do not necessarily think that you can replace a guy like that. Those are big shoes to fill, but we have to play as a team.”
Whether or not Garrett’s suspension gets reduced, Mayfield understands the Browns’ mindset should not change, and as a leader in the room, he is going to make sure there is no let down or feeling sorry for themselves.
“I think we have to continue to carry our message through with doing our job,” Mayfield said. “No matter who we are playing, no matter what is going on, we have to go out there with a great focus of doing our job every single play. The same thing as to why we have seen a little bit of turnaround, we have to continue to improve.
“We just have to attack each day. That singular focus that I have harped on, it goes throughout the week of practice, making sure we have guys in there knowing what they are doing so we can play fast and not have hesitation. I know the defense is going to get it right.”