Baker reached out to former Mayfield teammate Miles Garrett after the quarterback was traded from Cleveland to Carolina this summer. According to Garrett, Mayfield wrote that he “appreciated the time we got to spend together and get to know each other and grow together.”
Brown’s defensive end did not respond.
“I read (the text), but you know, there was some disagreement that we had at a base level, and I’m not mad at the guy or feeling it in any way, but I didn’t know that. How to answer that, so I didn’t,” Garrett told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “But I still think he’s one hell of a competitor, and he’s a great guy by your side and I root for him. I think his family is great, but now he’s antagonistic, and finally , I have to take them out.
The Browns selected Garrett to be No. 1 in overall selection in 2017 and Mayfield to be No. 1 overall a year later. Per Cabot, a rift between the two “seemed from the beginning, in part due to his personality and leadership style,” and Mayfield was among those in the organization who perceived a lack of strong leadership from Garrett.
Mayfield reprimanded Garrett in a postgame interview on national television in 2019 after Garrett’s helmet incident with Mason Rudolph led to a six-game suspension for Garrett. Mayfield troubled Garrett again last season with the role he played in the departure of Garrett’s close friend, Odell Beckham Jr.
Cabot reports that the gap between Mayfield and Garrett only widened to the point where Garrett wanted to see a change of quarterback for 2022. Brown did the same, trading for Deshan Watson before moving on from Mayfield.
“It’s never (easy),” Garrett said of working with Mayfield over the years. “It takes a lot to win. Except on one of the Warriors teams, it’s not going to be easy, go easy, but I think it’s always going to be tough. It’s always mentally stressful.
“People are going to say and do things they don’t normally do and they’re going to listen and be receptive to things they normally wouldn’t or wouldn’t have done. So it was a bit of a complicated relationship. But it happens every year. There has to be intensity.”
It won’t be a surprise if Mayfield and Garrett don’t hug or shake hands on Sunday. One of them, however, will leave the area happier than the other.