A quote attributed to Baker Mayfield caused a bit of a stir on Tuesday.
A day later, the Carolina Panthers quarterback told his side of the story. It turns out that he didn't say that he was going to "f*** them up." Them, being his former Cleveland Browns, Carolina's Week 1 opponent on Sept. 11.
That's Mayfield's version, at least.
Baker Mayfield said he didn’t say what he was alleged to about effing up the Browns. pic.twitter.com/rtIcxeVH3H
— Joe Person (@josephperson) August 31, 2022
"First, I didn't say it," Mayfield told reporters. "Obviously, everybody's gonna write whatever story they want. There's history that 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 with me being the quarterback here.
"I want to win at everything I do. That'll never change. Now, that is not how I phrased it. That's not even what I said. Let's just leave it at that."
Here's the report that prompted the uproar. NFL Network's Cynthia Frelund spoke with Mayfield after Carolina's preseason finale against the Buffalo Bills. She attributed the quote to Mayfield while speaking on the "Around the NFL" podcast on Tuesday:
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 30, 2022
"It was on the field after the game against the Bills," Frelund said. "I walked up to him like 'I'm so excited to see you. Go kick some butt ... especially Week 1. ... He uses some expletives. 'I'm gonna bleep them up.'"
When asked to clarify if the quote was "I'm gonna f*** them up," Frelund said yes.
This made noise on social media, since apparently an NFL quarterback wanting to "f***" up an opponent that he used to play for is cause for commotion. Word got back to the Browns locker room where All-Pro defensive end and ex-teammate Myles Garrett responded. Even he couldn't muster up outrage.
“We’ve known he has that type of demeanor and that attitude. And for better or for worse, it works for him,” Garrett told Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot. “And I’m not mad at him using that fire and that chip on his shoulder to help him play to the level he has. He’s been successful in what he’s done.’’
Nevertheless, Garrett was happy to use Mayfield's reported comments as bulletin board material. In the NFL, you find your edges where you can.
“Talking like that and moving the way he does, it’s worked for him,” Garrett continued. “He uses that for fire, for motivation and I think speaking like that helps amp him up.
“It does the same for us as well. We’ll take it, and we’ll use it, and I’m hoping for a great matchup. I don’t think any less of him because he’s going out there and doing the same thing he did when he was with us."
Meanwhile, Frelund took to Twitter to downplay her interaction with Mayfield as the reported quote generated headlines.
Oh boy, this is silly. Don’t make this more than it is. I was wishing him good luck, colorfully. He agreed with me, colorfully. What do you expect anyone to do in this situation… #browns
— cynthia frelund (@cfrelund) August 30, 2022
So what exactly was said? We'll likely never know. All we have now is dueling accounts. But in the end, is it that big of a deal if Mayfield wants to "f***" the Browns up?