BEREA, Ohio – Baker Mayfield does not regret his criticism of Hue Jackson, or even calling him fake, despite the national criticism he's receiving.
"Well, everyone likes to make things bigger than they really are, that's just how it is," he said. "People took it as me personally attacking Hue, but that's not it. It's the fact that I get my own opinion on how it transpired and he gets to do what he wants. That's how it is.
"Although I'm an athlete, I'm not a cookie-cutter quarterback, I have never been, never will be. I speak my mind. That's just how I am, so I did not like the move and people do not have to care. I'm not looking for anyone's approval. I do not regret any of it. It's about this team and what we have and we have to stick together and play together. "
But calling Jackson fake on Instagram in response to ESPN First Take's Damien Woody telling Mayfield to grow up?
"There are just things that happened inside the building that I'm not going to get into detail with, it's in-house information and it does not matter," he said. "We've moved on. We have our coach right now. We have our play caller, and we're having success, so we need to focus on that. "
Pressed to elaborate on what he meant by that, he said, "I get it, but I do not have to get into details. That's how it works. "
Asked about it another time later in his 15-minute press conference, he told a reporter, "You're caught up on that word, are not you?"
He also had no problem with his brother, Matt Mayfield, who was chasing in after him on the First Take "grow up" video, saying his brother was not going to fake friendship or respect for a coach that "a) did not have your back and b) were both uniquely and statistically bad at their job. ''
"It's protective," said Mayfield, "That's what you want family for. I expect some of these guys in this locker room to go to war with me, too.
Mayfield takes another shot at Jackson, calling him fake in response to First Take telling him to grow up
Although Mayfield's negative feelings about Jackson may have contributed to his firing, he said he was not consulted by Jimmy Haslam's owner on the matter.
"Well, well," he said, "That's their decision to make, and I trust them to make the right decisions. So it's not about that, and, right now, I've talked about that situation, m hoping we move forward and the focus for us is playing a great team this week, a team that has won eight games in a row, and we need to be ready to play. "
Jackson refused a request from Cleveland.com to respond to Mayfield's remarks, but a source close to the Bengals assistant said he had no idea what Mayfield is talking about and that he supported him before the draft right up until he was fired. Jackson did not spend as much time with Mayfield as offensive coordinator Todd Haley did, because he was overseeing the whole team while Haley was calling the plays.
Mayfield said his feelings about Jackson were not influenced by Haley, who was fired an hour after Jackson for what Jimmy Haslam described as an internal discord between the two coaches.
"Well, not that at all," said Mayfield. "I think after all that I've been saying, I do not let anyone else decide how I'm going to make my mind up or make my decisions. I have always been my own person and have developed those choices and listened to those around me. But at the same time, I ultimately make the decisions. "
Mayfield was asked if his Instagram "fake" comment and remark about Jackson's 30-plus losses were a way to galvanize the team, which has gone 2-1 in his absence. The Browns used Jackson's defection to Cincinnati as a rallying cry to help them beat the Bengals 35-20 on Sunday.
"I do everything with a purpose," said Mayfield. "So when someone comments on my story when they really do not know anything about it, I get to my voice, just like he's on a talk show voicing his. So I'm entitled to that, and there are certain things about me being myself, which, yeah, I think that helps this team.
"But in no way I'm trying to create a distraction, I think everyone in this locker knows that, so people on the outside can say what they want.
He said interim coach Gregg Williams has not said anything about him about the flap.
"We had a Victory Monday and then yesterday was our day off and today we were pretty busy so I did not have a chance to talk to him," he said. "So we'll see if that happens down the but right now, they expect me to handle things the right way and say the right things and lead this team the right way. "
Does it bother him when critics argue that quarterbacks such as Drew Brees and Peyton Manning would not behave this way or say such things about a former coach? Fox Sports One's Colin Cowherd, a longtime critic of Mayfield's, has made this point for one.
"It does not bother me," Mayfield said. "They're their own person. I'm not trying to be like them. Yeah, there are things that I absolutely admire about both of these guys, but I'm never trying to be anybody else. I'm going to be the best version of myself and that's what got me here. "
Likewise, Mayfield has not been bugged by charges that this was the smuggling of issues he had at Oklahoma, where, among other things, he grabbed his crotch towards the Kansas sideline during a game last season, and was charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and fleeing the arrest for an incident on a night out.
"Some Oklahoma mistakes as in like gestures and getting arrested, right?" Mayfield said. "These are the only mistakes I made at Oklahoma. People get maturity confused with me being 100 percent comfortable in my own skin. That's how I am, I've always been that way. It's not immature. It's me being who I am every day. Being that same guy for our team and I think that's very important for us right now. "
Mayfield acknowledged that he had learned to deal with criticism over the years because so few believed in him and he had to fight and claw for everything he gotten. He went to college, Texas Tech and Oklahoma, and fired himself with antics such as planting the flag at Ohio Stadium. More often than not, he was in the eye of the storm, and to this day, he still has vociferous critics.
"I think it's also dealing with a lot of it for my whole life," said Mayfield. "Everyone always has an opinion and you are entitled to that, but you have to block it out and if I'm not doing my job then what does it come down to is that I should not be playing," he said. "So I have an opinion and I'm entitled to that but the most important thing is doing my job and I can manage both, and that's what people do not understand. Yeah, a quarterback that's a bit different from some guys to have a voice but that's just how I've always been and I'm not going to change for anyone. "
Browns left guard, Joel Bitonio for one, does not believe Mayfield's anti-Jackson rant is a sign of immaturity.
Well, if you look at Baker's body of work since he's been here, I think he's a confident, sometimes cocky player, but you need to be a quarterback in this league, "he said. "People go about it differently and he plays the right way, he works the right way, he does things the right way and I'm happy he's our quarterback."