Baker Mayfield shook his head and smiled Wednesday when he was asked about coming up short in Offensive Rookie of the Year balloting behind Giants running back Saquon Barkley.
Mayfield and Barkley are close friends, and they made a friendly wager in the days leading up to Saturday’s NFL Honors. Whoever lost owed the winner a chain.
Mayfield was a bit reluctant to discuss how far along in the process he was in getting Barkley his new piece of jewelry. It’s been tough enough to deal with the bragging rights Barkley now holds between the two.
"It'll say 'Quads' on it,'' Mayfield said. "Not 'Sa-quads' but just 'Quads.' The two extra letters in there cost a little bit of extra money, so we'll stick with just 'Quads.'"
Through his entire career, Mayfield has used slights of all shapes and sizes as extra motivation. So it was a safe conclusion to make by many that coming up a few votes short of Offensive Rookie of the Year after his record-breaking first season with the Browns would drive him just a little more heading into 2019.
Mayfield admitted as much Wednesday night after winning Cleveland’s “Professional Athlete of the Year” at the 19th Greater Cleveland Sports Awards. He stressed, though, that there was so much more driving him to be even better for a team with elevated expectations.
“The more important thing is winning football games,” Mayfield said. “Yeah, it's more frustrating than anything because Saquon, that's my guy and he'll hold it over my head forever. But you know what, I'll use that as motivation and I'll be better in the long run."
It’s been a busy month or so for Mayfield since his rookie season came to an end. He made a memorable appearance on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and went through a car wash of interviews at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta before returning to Cleveland earlier this week. He spent time with his new head coach, Freddie Kitchens, and general manager John Dorsey at Wednesday’s awards show just a few days after appearing in the widely popular NFL100 commercial, which featured 44 players and 21 Hall of Famers.
Mayfield said he values his time away from the field and will continue to do so until it’s time to ramp up the intensity. Like last year, he said he’ll look to get together with the team’s other skill players on their own time away from Berea to enhance their chemistry.
"The sooner we can build that timing, later on you don’t have to worry about it. All the details, were fine-tuned out. It took until about September for us to get timing last year when I was actually getting reps with them,” Mayfield said. “So I’m looking forward to doing that early."