Perhaps he was feeling too dangerous.
After a humbling sophomore season, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is demonstrating an air of maturity by toning down the bravado and letting his work speak for itself.
“Right now, it’s moving in silence, which is fine with me,” he said on a conference call with press on Wednesday. “That’s how I used to do it before getting on a bigger stage. Get back to the fundamentals to where I can accomplish the goals when the season comes around.”
Mayfield “has turned down multiple interview requests this offseason,” a source told ESPN.
“It’s just time to work, do our thing, instead of talking about it,” he said. “This is the first media thing I’ve done, just because there’s no need to be talking about it.”
Mayfield’s newfound silence and humility are a stark departure from last year’s litany of spicy media features that made him a polarizing figure on the heels of his electric rookie season. In one of many boisterous offseason interviews, Mayfield drew ire for trashing the Giants’ controversial first-round draft pick.
“I cannot believe the Giants took Daniel Jones,” he told GQ Magazine. “Blows my mind.”
“I’m gonna be myself and believe in that,” Mayfield told Complex. “And if you don’t like it, that’s OK.”
“Here’s the thing,” Mayfield told ESPN The Magazine. “They’re gonna hype you up. But as soon as you lose a couple of games, they’ll throw you in the trash.”
He also engaged in a number of public spats with Rex Ryan, Cleveland reporter Tony Grossi, 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman and former Steelers receiver Antonio Brown.
The former Heisman Trophy winner quickly took over for Tyrod Taylor in 2018 and completed 63.8 percent of his passes for 3,725 yards, 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions over 14 games. Expectations and interest in the team were significantly heightened entering the 2019 season with the addition of former Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., but Mayfield regressed and finished with 3,827 yards, 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions with a 59.4 completion percentage.
And, as predicted, into the “trash” he went.
The Browns ultimately finished with a disappointing 6-10 record — their 12th consecutive losing season — and Mayfield frequently appeared frustrated and beleaguered both on and off the field.
The No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft will be eligible for a contract extension after this season. When asked if that would impart additional pressure on the year three signal-caller, Mayfield replied that there was “no need.”
“I win, good things will happen,” he said. “Good things will happen for our team and the guys around me, and that’s the most important part. If I play better, our team is going to do better.”