NFL reporter enhances bullseye on Carolina Panthers QB Baker Mayfield
By Dean Jones
Some questionable comments from NFL reporter Cynthia Frelund have enhanced the bullseye on Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield’s back.
It was always going to be a highly-charged atmosphere when Baker Mayfield took the field for the Carolina Panthers in Week 1. But the quarterback going up against the team that cast him aside this offseason right out of the gate has sent interest and intrigue to monumental levels.
Mayfield felt aggrieved by the way he was treated throughout the spring. The Cleveland Browns didn’t hesitate to move on from the Oklahoma product in favor of Deshaun Watson, who’ll miss the first 11 games through suspension regarding sexual misconduct allegations that the team was fully aware of before the trade.
The Panthers provide Mayfield with an instant road to redemption. An opportunity that the signal-caller is eager not to waste after making the smoothest of transitions to the team and Ben McAdoo’s complex system.
Accusations of childish, immature behavior haven’t been seen in the slightest. Mayfield’s looked poised and fiercely determined, getting everyone in the locker room on board immediately.
However, recent comments made by NFL reporter Cynthia Frelund during a chance touchline meeting with the player enhanced the bullseye on Mayfield’s back on opening day in no uncertain terms.
The analytics expert revealed on the Around the NFL podcast that during a chat with Mayfield – seemingly in passing – the Heisman Trophy winner claimed he was going to “f–k the Browns up” when he squares off against his old employers.
"“I don’t say curse words on air. I don’t want to get in trouble. Yes [that was the quote he said].”"
Myles Garrett is eager to make the Carolina Panthers and Baker Mayfield pay
Frelund tried to walk it back once her comments went viral.
But it was too late.
Mayfield’s supposed remarks provoked a response from Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who stated they would be using this as bulletin board material for further motivation to get one over on his former teammate.
"“We’ve known he has that type of demeanor and that attitude, and for better or for worse, it works for him. 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. Talking like that and moving the way he does, it’s worked for him. He uses that for fire, for motivation and I think speaking like that helps amp him up.”"
This might not mean all that much. However, it’s no doubt made Mayfield and Carolina’s life more complicated than it needs to be leading up to the encounter.
Mayfield has tried to play things down between himself and the Browns this offseason. There is a clear fire to prove his doubters wrong, but he’s publicly kept his cards close to the chest.
And with good reason.
Playing the game and not the occasion is essential for Mayfield. Emotions will be running high on both sides, so this story is only going to make things more difficult when push comes to shove.
Mayfield is a fiery character who’s never been afraid to speak his mind. Garrett is arguably the NFL’s most dominant pass-rusher, so it’ll be fascinating to see this all unfold on September 11.
Of course, the forgotten man in all this is Ikem Ekwonu. The No. 6 overall selection is getting the biggest baptism of fire imaginable against Garrett on his first competitive start, so he better be ready for the immense force coming his way now that the blue touch paper has been lit.
Frelund might not have thought that much about her comments. But it’s a bit naive if she didn’t think they’d be blown up beyond all proportions.
It is what it is. Mayfield will go about his business in a professional manner leading up to the game, which will hopefully stand the player in good stead as he looks to get his time in Carolina off on the best foot possible.