Browns QB Baker Mayfield Talks About Receiving Death Threats

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

On if he ever expected to have to miss as much practice time while on the reserve/COVID-19 list:

“Obviously, I was not wanting to miss any time. They just changed protocols from 10 days to five days after my sentencing (laughter). It is what it is. I talked about it after the game, I was heavily involved in the virtual meetings and all of the installs. It is just something that I do not like missing practice at all. I like being out there for every rep and talking through it with the guys, and the process is where the fun and joy is, being able to see it from beginning to end, so it is not something I like missing at all.”

On the mental challenges this season:

“Any season is going to have its ups and downs. This one has had a little more drama, should you say. It comes down to handling your business, trying to find ways to win any possible way and doing that week in and week out. Right now, we are in a situation where it is very apparent that we have to win this game. That is our job right now, and we are focused on that.”

On Emily Mayfield sharing on social media that he received death threats on social media following the Packers game:

“It is hard for me to say not to listen to it because I have quite a bit of experience of hearing a lot of opinions on the outside coming in. It is hard when it comes down to somebody that you love and you care about. She is not able to change any of the outcomes to the game at all. It is just one of those things that we are just in a world today and society that there are a lot of keyboard warriors who make empty threats and things like that, which it is quite honestly ignorant when they go after people who are not directly involved in football. When you talk about taking your own life, killing somebody or all of that, that to me is ignorance, but I try not to listen to it because those are not the people who I would listen to whether it was good or bad regardless. It is tough to tell your loved ones and your family not to defend you and look into that stuff. That is just human nature. You have to take it one day at a time and realize that your priorities, your family members and the people who truly matter to you, those are the opinions you need to listen to. It is one of those things that it has blown up to be a much bigger deal on the outside, and it is not like it is anything new for us.”

On if the social media threats rose to the level where Browns security or local authorities became involved:

“No. Like I said, it is going to be made to be a much bigger deal, as the media will do. It is not that serious.”

On his process for analyzing fourth quarter performances during the following week of practice to help make improvements:

“I think there are a lot of ‘in the moment’ things, but when you look back at it, there are oftentimes more than not it is little details of Day 1 teaching of footwork, depths or where we are IDing and communication and all of that. All of those little things are magnified in those critical moments during the fourth quarter. That is why it is even more important that we have to do our job at the very highest level possible because in those critical moments, it is truly the little things that matter.”

On having the opportunity to ‘seize the moment’ during the next two games:

“Anytime we are still in contention to make the playoffs, it is a great opportunity for us so that is the way I am going to handle it.”

On if he has made adjustments during the practice week while wearing the harness on his left, non-throwing shoulder:

“No, I just try and treat it as game-like as possible and full-speed reps. There is not much I can do to overcome the harness and the restrictions because that is protecting me. It is what it is.”

On if he has had to do anything in particular to ensure he does not overcompensate with mechanics when wearing the shoulder harness:

“No, I think it comes back to trusting my fundamentals, my throwing motion and finishing through my target. That has been the biggest issue is just keeping that momentum going towards the target. Obviously, like if you are teaching a five-year old how to throw, you finish towards your target momentum-wise, [otherwise] you will be falling off of your back foot and the ball will sail on you. It is just little things like that. It is just something that I have had to get used to.”

On how he analyzes the film from the Packers game and identifying areas to improve on the interceptions:

“I go back and watch what I need to. Watch it all the way through and then correct the mistakes I need to, should I say. It is not harping over too much because we were still pretty close to winning that game. Did I play my best? Absolutely not. Did the rest of the guys around me play great? Yeah, I think they did. If a few things fell our way during that game, we would have won, but I have to make those corrections and put us in the best position possible to win, and I did not do that, like I covered after the game. It is not harping on the negative too much, but there does need to be a focus on it to correct it.”

On his confidence level at this point in the season:

“I will be just fine. I will be just fine. I am not worried about that.”

On the challenges of dealing with unique adversity this season:

“There have been a lot of firsts for me this year, but that comes with the territory of the position that I am in. I have to handle it the best I possibly can. I know I have said the cheesy, cliché comment, ‘There is no manual on how to handle this,’ and there has not been. It has been one day at a time throughout this season. To me, that is the only way to correctly handle it and try to make the most of the opportunities and try to find the positives within a lot of the negativity around, whether it was created by the outside or what. It is just realizing the things that matter, prioritizing that and blocking out the rest to focus on the job at hand.”

On if it has been more difficult this season to tune out external negativity and criticism:

“I would say yes, but only because some of that drama earlier in the year was within the building, and it was not just directly outside. We had to handle a few things internally, and that is OK. We did that, and now we are here so that is what matters.”

On evaluating the interception in the red zone from the Packers game on film, including his comments about his footwork on the play:

“Just the frustrating part of my right ankle rolling over the top and just falling back. I am already committed to throwing that ball to (WR) Jarvis (Landry). That is where the ball should go. Coverage dictated that. My eyes were in the right spot. He is in the right spot. Just that minor mistake cost an interception and cost us points. Obviously, we were in field goal range, but it would have been a first down conversion and moving forward to having more chances at a touchdown. It is just little things, but just a very, very unfortunate and frustrating thing for me to have happen because I have made that throw a ton of times.”

On the expected atmosphere at Heinz Field in what is potentially the final home game of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger’s career:

“With everything in our division and the situation at hand for both teams right now, regardless of Ben’s situation, I think it will be a great environment. To add on top of that, just everything that he has given to that franchise over the years and the success he has had consistently for a very, very long time, I have nothing but respect for Ben. I am expecting just an even better environment. Both teams to be playing for the likelihood of the playoffs at hand. It is just one of those things that everything is aligning to where this game matters quite a bit, but for us, we need to handle it like any other game – one play at a time and do our job at the best possible level we can.”

On facing the Steelers defense with the atmosphere at Heinz Field:

“They have been playing at a high level for a long time. That is why they have been up at the top of the AFC North for a long time. We know what to expect. It is not going to be a surprise to us. If anybody told you otherwise, they would be lying. We know them well. They know us well. It is going to be a great challenge and a great atmosphere. Like I said, we just have to do our job one play at a time and just keep swinging until that clock hits zero.”

On how much he evaluates film from the previous Browns-Steelers matchup this season to get a better indication of the Steelers defense’s gameplan this week:

“I think they have changed a few minor tweaks here and there throughout the year, and that is what everybody does. Going into it with (Steelers defensive coordinator) Keith Butler as their DC and their scheme being the same over the years, you can kind of tell how they want to defend you. Now, they are going to have minor tweaks and different looks for you. That is what they do. We have to expect that and just react, play and trust our eyes. It is just one of those things that when it comes down to base scheme and foundation of what they are trying to get accomplished, we know what to expect, but they are going to have minor changes that we have to be prepared for.”

On what part of Roethlisberger’s game he admires most:

“There is a lot that I admire about his game and respect it, to be honest with you. His play, he extends plays, but he trusts his guys thoroughly. He trusts his receivers, tight ends and all of those guys to make plays for him, and he has done it consistently, no matter who has been out there with him. When it comes to fourth quarter or coming back and sparking drives for a comeback and when a play is needed to be made, he has consistently done that for a long, long time. That is something you can’t teach. He has just had that, and that is why he has had success for so long.”

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