A while back, on her podcast, Mary Kay Cabot hinted darkly that one day the real locker-room evil perpetrated by Baker Mayfield would come to light when the players started talking. Well, the players recently returned to Berea for OTAs and did indeed talk. Funny thing is, not one of them condemned Baker.
Yet, the hysteria around Baker rages on, to the point where people are literally hallucinating false narratives. Take podcaster John Middlekauff (28:15) who “quoted” Greg Newsome as saying about the Browns players:
“They all loved Odell, didn’t like Baker.”
But in actual reality, Newsome said:
“The crazy thing, Baker was a great teammate too.”
Newsome literally said that Baker was a “great teammate” and Middlekauff heard him say that the whole team hated Baker. That’s literally an hallucination.
Middlekauff went on about Baker:
“What’s going on with the guy? What’s the deal? Why did Myles Garrett…crush him on his way out?”
Here’s the exact quote from Myles:
“People come and go, and this is one of those changes. I hope the best for him. I hope he moves on and he does well for himself… He’s played well when he’s healthy. When he’s healthy, he can do some pretty good things for a team. Just has to find his niche again. I think he has to prove himself, has to get healthy.”
That’s crushing? Seems pretty mild to me. And you have to consider that Baker criticized Myles when he blew up the 2019 season after getting suspended for bashing Mason Rudolf with a helmet. Myles might be holding a little grudge, but still did not slam Baker. (With Garrett suspended, the Browns finished 2019 with a 2-4 record.)
And finally, Middlekauff said:
“I don’t like bringing toxic quarterbacks into my building.”
There is not one shred of evidence that Baker is toxic in the locker room. And Middlekauff should consider publishing a retraction as his statements could be considered defamatory. Middlekauff is a punch-down kind of guy. When he sees Baker down and out, he just can’t help but to stomp his face. Incredibly, Middlekauff might be the only hater stomping on both Mayfield and Watson simultaneously.
But why don’t we get an opinion from an actual quarterback expert, Chris Simms, of the Simms quarterback family. Simms recently said:
“They did Baker Mayfield dirty and so has everybody else. Cleveland has done Baker Mayfield dirty. The media has done Baker Mayfield dirty. The fact people have thrown him away and cast him as a low-level starter, I think is wrong.”
“When you go back and watch Baker Mayfield, and when you watch him healthy…there’s a lot of wow factor. There’s a lot of things to like about his game. He is a good NFL starting quarterback who has the potential to be, in my opinion, kind of a top-10 quarterback. His arm is that special.”
“He’s getting crushed and killed because he played tough through injury and people are holding that against him and it’s not right. And he is a starting quarterback and it’s amazing he’s still sitting here in limbo because of Cleveland…because of Cleveland, Baker Mayfield’s career and this season is in limbo as far as what the hell is going to happen.”
…and Simms would know, having once nearly killed himself by playing with a ruptured spleen.
Robby Anderson of the Carolina Panthers is one of the few players who has blatantly criticized Baker, but Anderson doesn’t actually know Baker, and was never a teammate. And he is balanced out by #10 draft pick, Garrett Wilson, who had this to say:
“Baker’s my guy. He was always a little older than me and he would come back [to Lake Travis High School] and coach seven on seven. During the quarantine, we actually threw together a couple times. So I know that Baker is a great player. We have a good relationship.”
Wilson was hoping to be drafted by the Browns to play with Baker:
“I did have a formal [meeting at the combine] with the Browns. It would be great to link up with Baker. Baker’s someone that did all the things that I wanted to do. Being a Heisman winner; that’s stuff you can only dream about, so watching him ball when I was younger, that was really awesome. Having that opportunity to maybe have that happen again would be awesome.”
Alas, Wilson has been banished to the 4-13 New York Jets.
Does Baker have a big ego? Sure, but compared to what? Compared to Kyler Murray, Baker is a choir boy.
As for OBJ, after he stole away into the night, fresh blood dripping from his fangs, he didn’t seem to have had much contact with his former teammates. He was too busy going Hollywood, literally. It was the NFL version of The Glass Menagerie, a Tennessee Williams play of abandonment that I studied in English class at Mayfield High School.
And for those of you who want to bring OBJ back, don’t forget that, to everybody’s surprise at the time, he refused to play in the 2021 opener versus the Chiefs. And that was after bombarding us with hype videos all summer long; carrying on about how he is the fastest healing human on Earth, and how ready he is to play, etc. I have a theory why he refused to play when his knee looked fully healed in practice, but the point is to recognize that that was a betrayal, and should disqualify him from rejoining the team.
And finally, here is what the Browns’ best player, Nick Chubb, had to say about Baker:
“He’ll still always be one of my best friends. He’s a great guy. I know with his intensity and his attitude, wherever he lands, he’ll be ready.”
Well said, Mr. Chubb.
Note: I have a feeling that Deshaun Watson is going to get a long sentence from the NFL. When the 23rd and 24th lawsuits were hitting the headlines, the NFL said that they had already concluded their investigation. It was sort of like they were saying: “We’ve seen enough. 25 cases; 30 cases; doesn’t matter, we have already come to a decision to give him the maximum penalty.” So, if that happens, what about this: bring Baker back and get rid of Stefanski. The real conflict wasn’t Baker vs OBJ, but Baker vs Stefanski, who did a terrible job coaching last season.