Baker Mayfield knows all about the stigma attached to being an NFL team appearing on the HBO series Hard Knocks.
All of those cameras and microphones capturing practically everything you do and say during training camp. To say the least, it all can be more than a little distracting. And all of those distractions by the annual summer invasion of a massive NFL Films crew have been considered by some as a cause for struggling once the season begins.
‘If you think about it as way to get on camera and try and show off or do certain things and you handle it the wrong way, then that can be very negative’
It would seem that the one club that could stand the fewest amount of added challenges this year is the Cleveland Browns, who have won only one game in the past two seasons. However, Mayfield, the former Oklahoma standout quarterback the Browns made the top overall pick of last month’s draft, doesn’t quite see it that way.
“For me, looking at it, and us as a team, I’d say it can be good if you handle it right,” Mayfield told Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on Movin’ The Chains. “If you think about it as way to get on camera and try and show off or do certain things and you handle it the wrong way, then that can be very negative, it can be a distraction. But if you use it as a sense of, ‘OK, I’ve got to block out everything else and just focus on playing ball,’ then that can be a great thing for us, just having people within our practices, our training camp, right there.
‘If you’re able to focus in, that can be a beneficial thing for us’
“It’s not like they’re trying to distract us, but they’re there and you could worry about it, you could think about it. But if you’re able to focus in, that can be a beneficial thing for us, talking about going into away stadiums and going into different environments where you have to focus on doing your job. So I’m looking forward to it. I know my family is probably looking forward to it as well, to be able to get to see kind of practice and what’s going on since they won’t be able to see it there, first-hand, in person.”
Mayfield thinks it’s important for the Browns to remember what made them such an obvious candidate for Hard Knocks, and to use that to their advantage.
‘I’m looking forward to being the start of something new there in Cleveland’
“Hard Knocks wouldn’t be there if we weren’t 0-16 last season, so we’re working towards never having to have that situation again,” he said. “And I’m looking forward to being the start of something new there in Cleveland.”
Mayfield’s leadership qualities are already showing during the offseason. Besides his tremendous talent, he is also known for a fiery, take-charge personality that had a way of helping to make everyone around him push harder.
‘They know that I’m there for them, whether it’s a phone call in the middle of the night or it’s being there for them on the middle of the field’
“You want to be able to say every teammate you have is somebody you’d take into a foxhole with you,” Mayfield said. “You want to be able to say, ‘I know that guy’s going to have my back, I don’t even have to worry about it. He’s going to do his job and he’s going to protect me with everything he has.’ That’s the mentality that I try and carry in, that they don’t ever even question it. It is what it is, and they know that I’m there for them, whether it’s a phone call in the middle of the night or it’s being there for them on the middle of the field.
“To me, that goes and it’s infectious throughout the whole team. And when you see that from a fan’s perspective, you feel like you’re a part of the team as well. And that’s why I try and throw my personality a little bit, because when you get a whole team involved, the whole franchise, and then you start talking about getting the community involved, you can really start brewing up something special.”
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