Former Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield took the high road when discussing his failed trade to the organization in 2022.
Trading for quarterback Baker Mayfield was Matt Rhule's last throw of the proverbial dice. It didn't work out and the signal-caller was released midway through the season, but he gets the chance to put one over on the Carolina Panthers this weekend.
Mayfield didn't admit it publicly, but he'll be out for revenge. He wasn't given any real chance to succeed after arriving late and splitting reps at training camp with Sam Darnold, which led to obvious chemistry problems with his pass-catchers when the regular season arrived.
This - and many other reasons - led to Rhule's firing. But the fact Mayfield has enjoyed a mini-renaissance of sorts with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season is a damning indictment of Carolina's coaching.
Baker Mayfield reflects on Carolina Panthers stint
When asked about his time in Carolina ahead of the clash, there was a tinge of regret from Mayfield's perspective that things didn't work out based on comments via Yardbarker. And instead of taking a shot at his old employers, the former No. 1 overall pick took the high road, instead.
"I believe everything happens for a reason. God [has] got a plan. I got to meet some great teammates there and some great support staff, as well, and I enjoyed it. It was a fresh start for me. Obviously, it didn't pan out the way I envisioned it, but everything happens for a reason. I'm here now and I expect to have a good game against some familiar faces. It will be fun."- Baker Mayfield via Yardbarker
It might be fun for Mayfield, but this is a game that's probably been circled on his calendar from the moment this year's schedule became public knowledge. Something the Panthers must be ready for as they look to kickstart interim head coach Chris Tabor's time at the helm with a win.
The Buccaneers have much more on the line, They are right in the divisional title picture thanks in no small part to how woeful the NFC South is once again, so it's a game they cannot lose under any circumstances.
That puts the pressure on Tampa Bay far more than Carolina. Mayfield is also all too aware of how a temporary head coach can galvanize the Panthers. After all, he was around when Steve Wilks took over from Rhule and completely altered the locker room mindset almost instantly.
"Having been in that spot before, everybody rallies around it, honestly. It's one of those things that brings people together. I know (Chris Tabor) very well. I was there with him last year – he's a great guy, so I think he is going to have those guys fired up. At this point, they don't have anything to lose, so they're going to be playing 100%. We have to be ready for whatever they have."- Baker Mayfield via Yardbarker
Most within the Panthers locker room should know Mayfield's strengths and weaknesses. One thing that cannot be questioned is the Oklahoma product's competitive fire, but he is prone to mistakes if pressured or confused pre-snap.
This is something the Panthers can take advantage of. Just how much fight remains is debatable, but Mayfield said it best…
Frank Reich's removal and Tabor's appointment means the Panthers are a dangerous animal if not afforded the right respect. And that's the last thing Mayfield wants as he goes in search of redemption.