Mayfield confident QB competition won't divide Browns
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Baker Mayfield intends to conquer, not divide.
Although drafted by the win-starved Cleveland Browns with the No. 1 overall pick to be their quarterback of the future, Mayfield said today he plans to be a leader from the outset even if he doesn't start as a rookie.
Tyrod Taylor is the team's presumptive opening-week starter against Pittsburgh, and while Mayfield intends to compete for the job in training camp, he won't allow personal ambition to get in the way of team goals.
He won't step on any toes.
"It's not about individuals," Mayfield said as the Browns opened their three-day rookie minicamp. "They brought him and I in because we're both team-oriented guys. He's the starter, and all I can do is help us out. So it's not going to be something that separates the locker room. We're not going to be fighting over who's the man in the locker room.
"I'm a team-oriented guy, and I just want to win."
Mayfield's leadership and drive were part of the self-assured Oklahoma quarterback's appeal to the Browns, who believe – in time – he can turn around a team that has gone 1-31 the past two seasons.
The plan for now is for Taylor to start and Mayfield to learn while watching a quarterback who led the Buffalo Bills to their first playoff appearance in 18 years last season. The Browns traded for Taylor in March before they reached a consensus on taking Mayfield, who won a Heisman Trophy last season while losing some fans for objectionable on-field antics.
But Mayfield's a pro now, he claims more mature from his mistakes, and he's got a clean slate and a new set of priorities. At the top of his list: earning the trust of his teammates.
To do that, Mayfield intends to be himself, which means he'll go at it full throttle.
"I've got to continue my strengths, and leadership is one of them," he said. "So when you talk about that, it's earning the respect of the veterans in the locker room. The guys who have been doing it for a while, I have to earn their respect. You can't talk about it and earn their respect. You have to go to work. You have to put the time in. You've got to learn the playbook, and then when you get your opportunity, you've got to show that you're there for a reason."