Berea, Ohio – Miles Jarrett received a nice text message from Baker Mayfield after he traded with the Panthers, but decided not to reply.
“He said he appreciates the time we spent together, getting to know each other and growing together,” Garrett told cleveland.com in a one-on-one interview last week. “I really didn’t say anything. I didn’t have much to say and didn’t know how to respond, so I didn’t.”
Garrett’s lack of response came after four years of ups and downs between the two that didn’t end on the best notes. By the end of last season, they were both ready to play for different teams and he called it a day. The former top two will meet on the field Sunday in Carolina, with Mayfield starting for the Panthers and Garrett trying to prevent him from getting complacent with a win over his former team.
“I read (the text) but you know, there were some disagreements between us on a fundamental level and I’m not mad at the guy or feel any way for him, but I didn’t know how to respond to that,” Garrett said. Your side and I support it. I think he’s got a great family, but he’s the opposition now, and at the end of the day, I have to get him out.”
Garrett didn’t mean it literally, of course, but admitted a couple of weeks ago that if he could get some sacks while putting his team in a position to win, “I’d enjoy that too.”
The disconnect between the two seems to have been there from the start, due in part to their different personalities and driving styles. Mayfield, who ranked first overall in 2018, was boisterous, boisterous and choppy. Garrett, the #1 overall pick in 2017, was relatively calm and a bit lonely at first and didn’t interact with his teammates as much as he has in the past two years. A source said some, including Mayfield, view it as the lack of solid leadership by the ultimate Alpha Dog in defence.
It came to a head during Garrett’s helmet incident with Mason Rudolph in 2019 when Mayfield spoke out against Garrett on national television, and the two had to work through it. It escalated again last season when Jarrett was upset about the departure of his close friend Odell Beckham Jr. and Mayfield’s role in her. Garrett has been outspoken about the fact that Brown’s management He did not consult with the players for their input regarding the notch between the QB1 and the stellar receiver.
As the season went on and the losses mount, the chasm between Mayfield and Jarrett widened to the point where Jarrett felt that something had to change for 2022, whatever that may be. Brown finished 8-9 and were eliminated from the playoffs even though stars such as Jarrett, Denzel Ward and Nick Chappe were at the height of their careers. Garrett set the handicap very high for everyone in the organization last season – at the championship level – and talked about if he saw something he didn’t like, whether it had to do with a teammate, coach, or front-office member.
Some players were also dismayed that Mayfield, who has been tearing his left shoulder not throwing a throw since week two, pulled himself out of the season final against the Bengals after consulting with his agent and members of his management team. Safety Jon Johnson III remarked this week that he came back from injury with that senseless game to be there for his teammates, saying “it’s just personal” and speculating that Mayfield might have been too upset to go.
It’s never[easy],” Garrett said of working alongside Mayfield over the years. “Winning takes a lot. It won’t be easy, it goes easy. Except for one of the Warriors, but I think it’s always difficult. It’s always mentally exhausting.
“Men will say and do things they wouldn’t normally do and will listen and accept things they wouldn’t normally do or have to do. So it was a bit of a complicated relationship, but that’s what happens every year. There are guys coming in, big guys coming in and the same. Some guys that came in. They will just come out, but you have to maintain the same level and you have to bring in the same strength year after year.”
Perhaps the relationship wasn’t what it was after the helmet incident, when Mayfield told Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews on national television after the game that Garrett’s actions were “unforgivable” and that he “hurt this team.”
Former Brown defensive midfielder Sheldon Richardson, whose video was shown by fellow linebacker Olivier Vernon, stepped directly into Mayfield in the locker room and dealt with her according to old-school locker room rules.
“I just said, ‘If you ever go wrong, do you want your brothers you look up to every day, day in and day out, and oppose you and make you feel some kind of way and like you can come back from him write a deal?’” ” Richardson told cleveland.com last summer. “I said, ‘Don’t let the media and the celebrity part of being a footballer stand in the way of being a real brother to your teammates. Right, wrong, or indifferent, if it’s a situation so bad that you can’t comment on it, you’d better not say anything at all.”
Mayfield approached Garrett a few days later and told him he wanted to return to the team after what proved to be a six-game suspension to close out the 2019 season.
“He’s proud to be on this team and I’m proud to have him as a quarterback on this team,” Garrett told cleveland.com before last season.
Last week, Garrett reiterated that he had already done so.
“I’m not someone who holds a grudge, so at the end of the day, it was about getting back up, earning my teammates’ respect again and trying to get back to the plateau I was on and go upstairs,” he said.
The two players came together in 2020 and presented a united front, driving both sides of the ball and leading the Browns to their first playoff berth in 18 years and their first playoff victory in 26. Photo of them hitting body in the air after the 48-37 victory over the Pittsburgh wild card, It captured the essence of the first two options that led the Browns to success.
But everything fell apart last season, and there’s no great love lost between the two.
Garrett even told cleveland.com that Brown would use a Mayfield quote To Cynthia Frelund of the NFL Network about his former team who said “I’m going to (expletive) spell them out” as motivation. Mayfield denied saying that.
“We’ve known he has this kind of behavior and that attitude, and through thick and thin, it works for him,” Garrett said. “And I am not mad at him for using that fire and that chip on his shoulder to help him play to the level he has. He was successful in what he did.”
He watched Garrett Mayfield work this way in the four years they spent together, so he wasn’t surprised.
“Speaking that way and moving the way he does, it worked for him,” he said. “He uses that for fire and motivation and I think speaking that way helps him get up.”
But he noted, “He does the same for us as well. We’ll take it and we’ll use it, and hopefully have a great match. I don’t think he’s any less because he gets out there and does the same thing he did when he was with us. It’s the same person in person, and maybe we’ll see a different Baker when We get to the field. Who knows?”
But if they don’t hug the field after the game, it won’t be a huge surprise.
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