BEREA, Ohio — Myles Garrett doesn’t hold Baker Mayfield’s “I’ll (expletive) set them up” comment against him, but says the Browns will definitely use it as motivation for the opener against him on Sept. 11 in Carolina.
“We know he has that type of demeanor and attitude, and for better or worse, it works for him,” Garrett told cleveland.com Tuesday after practice. “And I’m not mad at him for using that fire and that chip on his shoulder to help him play at the level he has. He’s been successful in what he’s done.”
Garrett, who had an up-and-down relationship with his fellow No.
“Talking like that and moving like he does, it worked for him,” he said. “He uses that for fire, for motivation and I think talking like that helps him get stronger.”
But, noted Garrett, “It does the same for us too. We’ll take it and we’ll use it, and hopefully a great game. I don’t think less of him because he goes out there and does the same thing he was doing when he was with us. He’s the same guy personally, and maybe we’ll see another Baker when we get on the pitch. Who knows?”
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said of Mayfield’s remark, “I’m not going to get involved in that kind of thing. As you know, it’s Carolina week. I understand how unique it is that Baker is the starting quarterback for the Panthers. We’re really going to focus on coming up with a plan to beat the Panthers. That’s really the goal.
When asked if there were any copies of Mayfield’s quote circulating in the locker room now, he replied, “No.”
He said he didn’t believe in the concept of posting Mayfield’s locker room comments to motivate himself.
“I don’t know,” he said.
After the Panthers’ 21-0 win over the Bills at Bank of America Stadium, Mayfield had an exchange with Bills reporter Cynthia Frelund, saying of the opener against the Browns, “I’ll (expletive) set up”, according to Frelund.
Frelund, also an NFL Network analytics expert, shared her post-game chat with Mayfield on the “Around the NFL” podcast that aired Monday night.
“You met Baker Mayfield, the former Browns quarterback, recently,” host Dan Hanzus said. “I was hoping you could share an exchange you had.”
Frelund recounted the conversation.
“I walked up to him and said, ‘I’m so excited to see you, like, go kick some ass,’ I didn’t say that word.” she said laughing. “…’Go kick some ass, especially week 1, I don’t like to wait.’ And he uses swear words and I was like, ‘I just hope you’re ready.’ He was like, ‘I’m going to beep them.’
Hanzus asked Frelund if that was a direct quote, “‘I’m going to fuck ’em up,’ was that the quote?”
She said, “I don’t swear on air. I don’t want to get in trouble.
Hanzus insisted, “But was that the quote?”
Frelund replied: “Yes.
On Tuesday morning, in response to the stories, Frelund tweeted, “Oh my God, that’s silly. Don’t do more than it is. Wish him well, colorful. He agreed with me, colorful. What are you waiting for someone do in this situation…”
Frelund, when challenged by Browns fans on social media to seemingly root against Cleveland, tweeted, “I’m not anti-Browns, I’m just supportive of Baker’s career and I want him to succeed.
The bulletin board quotes — something Mayfield has been known for since his college days — were very different from the politically correct ones coming out of Cleveland last week.
“He’s my old teammate,” Garrett said last week. “But there is no rivalry between me and him and there is no rivalry between the Panthers and the Browns. Yes, he was there, but that doesn’t mean I have an added sense of urgency to join him. I want to play my best and whatever’s in the cards, that’s all for me. If I can help my team win, if I can put them in the best position to win, I’ll do it, and if I can get a few sacks along the way, I’d appreciate that too.
Left guard Joel Bitonio stayed in touch with his good friend.
“For me, I’m playing against the Carolina defense, and obviously Baker will be there for us,” Bitonio said last week. “It’s going to be a good challenge for us, I know the guys are going to be motivated. But it’s the Carolina Panthers we have to face and we’re going to be ready for that.
“And me and Baker are on good terms. I texted him throughout the offseason and once he was traded there, I wished him well. I’ve always had his back and he’s only been good to me as a person and so… we’ll be ready for Week 1 and the Carolina Panthers.
Linebacker Jacob Phillips echoed those sentiments.
“We still love Baker,” Phillips said. “Obviously he was one of our former teammates. Basically every teammate we have – you know, it’s a business. People are here a year, a team is never the same. So obviously with him, it’s going to be cool that we have some sort of understanding of how he obviously plays competitively against him every day on the training grounds, so I think it’s going to be a regular game for us.
“Obviously you have more notes written on how he plays and the different throws he makes and different things like that, but it’s going to be like every other week.”
Mayfield, at his press conference in Carolina last week after being named the Week 1 starter against Sam Darnold, was much tamer than he apparently was to Frelund.
“Obviously there’s a lot of attachment there,” Mayfield said. “I’m not going to sit here and be a robot and say that doesn’t mean anything. It will be.”
Mayfield declined to say what to expect from him in the opener.
“I’m not going to premeditate anything,” he said. “Once I step into the lines, I’m a competitor.”
The Browns traded Mayfield, their No. 1 pick in 2018, to the Panthers for a fifth-round pick in 2024 who can move to a fourth if he plays 70% of the snaps. Mayfield has $3.5 million worth of reasons to want to beat the Browns — the amount of pay cut he took to complete the trade with the Panthers.
The Browns are paying $10.5 million of his originally fully guaranteed salary of $18.86 million for 2022, and the Panthers have recouped about $5 million. That means the Browns will have paid Mayfield $583,333 to beat them if he does, in fact, dispatch them.
But Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney and the rest of the Browns defensemen – some of whom were miffed by the way he behaved when Odell Beckham Jr. left – will have something to say about it.
Are you a die-hard Browns fan? Join us for a free live Orange and Brown Talk podcast on September 7 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., in person! Heard from cleveland.com sports journalists as they discuss the upcoming season, hot topics and special team analysis. This event has limited places available. Get your tickets at: https://musicboxcle.com/event/orange-and-brown-talk/
Get the latest Browns merchandise: Here is where you can order Cleveland Browns gear online, including jerseys, t-shirts, hoodies, hats and more.
If you or a loved one have questions and need to speak to a gambling professional, call the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966 or the from the National Council on the Gaming Program (NCPG) at 1-800-522-4700.
More Browns coverage