BEREA, Ohio - Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield insisted Wednesday that GQ Magazine took his comments about Daniel Jones "out of context," so Mayfield reached out to the New York Giants rookie quarterback to "clear the air."
Mayfield became the target of public backlash for a story GQ published online Tuesday in which he was quoted as saying, "I cannot believe the Giants took Daniel Jones. Blows my mind."
GQ staff writer Clay Skipper wrote he told Mayfield during their interview he was "mystified that so many supposedly expert quarterback scouts seem unable to predict what makes a good NFL quarterback."
Skipper quoted Mayfield's response as, "Some people overthink it. That's where people go wrong. They forget you've gotta win."
In April, the Giants received rampant criticism for drafting Jones sixth overall despite his record of 17-19 as a three-year starting QB at Duke University.
But Mayfield, the first overall pick last year, explained Wednesday after the 19th and final practice of training camp he wasn't taking a shot at Jones.
"It seemed very disrespectful, and I can understand that," Mayfield said. "But what people didn't realize is the conversation entailed of me saying I was surprised that I was drafted No. 1 overall, too, and then me going on a rant after that about QB evaluation, and then me (expressing) frustration from recruiting processes and stuff that I've had.
"It's very well documented my thoughts on a lot of that. So it had nothing to do specifically about Daniel, about the winning and stuff. But I reached out to Daniel because all that blew way out of hand, and I wanted him to know how I felt."
Mayfield and Skipper can't agree on when their interview took place, either. Mayfield said it happened in late April shortly after the NFL draft, which ran April 25-27. During an appearance Tuesday on "Cleveland Browns Daily," the team's in-house radio show, Skipper said the interview was in late May.
Regardless, Mayfield said he texted Jones in the midst of the recent media firestorm.
"He was very nice," Mayfield said. "Everything that people have said about him, he was cordial, he said, 'No worries, man.' "
Mayfield said the portrayal of his comments "came back on my character," and he spoke as if that bothered him.
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"I don't care about a lot of opinions, if you like me or not, but that looked like my character was way out of line," Mayfield said. "And so that's the only reason I addressed it."
Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said he would fully expect Mayfield to contact Jones like he did.
"Because he wanted to make sure it was interpreted properly," Kitchens said, "and I would too if I were him."
Although Mayfield acknowledges he has an edge to his personality, the fallout from the GQ story doesn't make him think he ought to pull back.
"Absolutely not," he said. "No."
For instance, Mayfield didn't walk back his comments to GQ about his flag-planting stunt in 2017 at Ohio State. Skipper wrote high-ranking Oklahoma officials told Mayfield he needed apologize for the display, and when Skipper asked Mayfield how heartfelt his apology was on a scale of one to 10, Mayfield replied, "Zero."
On Wednesday, Mayfield said that part of the GQ story is "very accurate."
With Mayfield's comments about Jones going viral Tuesday, Kitchens defended his quarterback. Mayfield appreciated it.
"It's a way bigger deal on the outside, and addressing it is great," Mayfield said. "But (Kitchens) also is one of the guys who knows exactly who I am and if that was taken out of context and not exactly what I said."
One of the points Kitchens made Tuesday while publicly supporting Mayfield is "we don't care" if the bulls-eye on the Browns is becoming bigger as a result of stories like the one by GQ. Mayfield agreed with his coach.
"We want to get somebody's best shot every game," Mayfield said.
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