Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season has officially arrived, and Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield appears to have been taking some mental notes this offseason in the vein of another city sports icon, LeBron James.
After the outspoken, self-assured signal-caller stayed mostly quiet leading up to Sunday’s showdown versus the Kansas City Chiefs, Mayfield fired off at critics in an awesome video posted to his Twitter feed, stating, “Talk is cheap. Let’s get it started.”
It functions as both a highlight reel and a motivation-fueling vehicle. The chip on Mayfield’s shoulder is still real, even after he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
A two-time college walk-on, Mayfield proceeded to win the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma before landing in Cleveland. Doubts lingered ever since his arrival due to his lackluster size and implicit lack of talent because of how he rose through the college ranks. Plus, the Browns were a dysfunctional mess.
Fast-forward through several head coaching changes and multiple offensive systems later, and Mayfield is the field general on an absolutely loaded roster, coming off an 11-5 season and a playoff win over the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
Mayfield’s more measured approach as a public speaker has been noticeable of late, and it reflects the even-keeled, composed demeanor projected by reigning Coach of the Year Kevin Stefanski and GM Andrew Berry.
With Stefanski dialing up plays and overseeing the smoothest football operation in Cleveland since the Browns returned in 1999, Mayfield is finally in his second straight season in the same offensive system. Berry is one of the elite executives in the NFL, and was the youngest GM in league history when he was hired.
Based on Mayfield’s personal history, the continuity and stability he’s finally enjoying in Cleveland and the immensely talented supporting cast the Browns have put around him, it’d be unwise to bet against him in 2021.
Week 1 will say a lot about where Mayfield and Cleveland stand, as they travel back to the site of their last game, Arrowhead Stadium, to take on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. In their last meeting in the AFC Divisional Round, the Browns lost 22-17.