Revenge surely will be on Baker Mayfield’s mind when he takes the field for his first regular-season game with the Panthers.
As fate would have it, Carolina will open its 2022 slate against the Browns, the team that showed Mayfield the door in Cleveland after swinging a blockbuster trade for Deshaun Watson. The Browns drafted Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick in 2018 and the quarterback helped halt the organization’s playoff drought at 17 seasons two years later.
NFL Network’s Cynthia Frelund spoke with Mayfield after the Panthers’ preseason finale and asked the 27-year-old about the Week 1 matchup against his former team. Frelund claimed Mayfield said he was going to “(expletive) them up,” which wouldn’t exactly be an uncharacteristic remark from the outspoken signal-caller who always plays with a chip on his shoulder.
However, Mayfield claims those words never came out of his mouth.
“First, I didn’t say it,” Mayfield told reporters Wednesday, per ESPN. “There’s history because I played there the last four years. I’m an extremely competitive person. Everybody knows that. If I wasn’t wanting to win, then there would be a really big issue of me being the quarterback here.
“I want to win in everything I do. That’ll never change. But it’s not how I phrased it. It’s not even what I said, so let’s leave it at that.”
Whether he said it or not, it’s fair to assume Mayfield will be playing with added motivation when the Panthers and the Browns collide at Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 11. Entering Thursday, Carolina is a 2.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook for the season-opening showdown.