Kliff Kingsbury says past differences in college with Baker Mayfield have been mended

Trotter: Mayfield keeps track of people who doubt him (1:44)

Jake Trotter details how Baker Mayfield used perceived slights or injustices for motivational fuel even before he reached the NFL. (1:44)

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Even though Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said his relationship with Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is "in a good place," Kingsbury wishes he had handled Mayfield's situation differently when he coached the quarterback at Texas Tech in 2013.

"Obviously, I'd like to have that gone differently and handled things differently," Kingsbury said Wednesday. "You live and you learn, and I'm just glad we're in a good place now.

"Any of those guys I've ever worked with, I want [them] to be successful and I appreciate the work that I was able to do with them."

Kingsbury's Cardinals will face Mayfield's Browns at State Farm Stadium on Sunday.

At the Browns' facility in Berea, Ohio, Mayfield agreed with Kingsbury's assessment of their relationship.

"It was a long time ago. We've talked since. Played against him a few times since. It's exactly that: We're in a good place," he said.

Asked why, Mayfield said: "Passage of time, conversation, I think all of the above. It's in the past. What happened happened and we've moved forward."

Mayfield, who walked on to the Red Raiders as a freshman, transferred to Oklahoma after the 2013 season because he felt Kingsbury did not communicate well with him after he suffered a knee injury following a 5-0 start.

Mayfield told ESPN in 2014 that he was "clueless as to why I wasn't playing" when Texas Tech began losing once he was healthy, and that there was a lot of uncertainty on a week-to-week basis about where he stood with Kingsbury. What sealed his decision to transfer, he said then, was when Texas Tech couldn't commit to offering him a scholarship for his sophomore season.

The two have since worked out their differences, Kingsbury said.

"Yeah, we've talked," Kingsbury said. "We're in a good place, and [I'm] always excited to see how he's playing and his career and what he's done. Being at ground zero of that deal and where it started to where it is now is phenomenal. You got to give him all the credit in the world. Every level he goes to, he continues to excel and prove people wrong."

Kingsbury said he spoke to Mayfield at this year's Kentucky Derby.

"He knows how I feel about him as a player, as a person ... [and] has for a number of years," Kingsbury said.

When Kingsbury recruited Mayfield to Texas Tech amid offers from New Mexico, Florida Atlantic, Rice and Washington State, "you could see [Mayfield was] very talented," Kingsbury said. "We already had a quarterback committed, but [we] really liked what we saw and continued to recruit him and stay on him. We felt like he could play at a high level, and it worked out."

The game will feature another reunion, as Mayfield will be going against Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, his teammate at Oklahoma.

Murray was Mayfield's backup in 2017, when Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy. Murray became the starter in 2018 -- after Mayfield became the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft -- and also won the Heisman Trophy en route to becoming the No. 1 selection in the draft.

"They'll be fired up for this one," Kingsbury said. "There's no doubt. Yeah, they'll both be ready to rock."

Mayfield and Murray are close friends off the field; Murray attended Mayfield's wedding and often refers to him as "Bakes."

"Yeah, it's going to be fun," Murray said. "I haven't seen him in a while, so I'm looking forward to that, but at the same time, it's kind of special just being able to be on the same field, opposing teams, and just playing against him is obviously special."

Murray was asked what's he's learned from Mayfield.

"I learned what not to do," he said, laughing. "No, I always got to sit back and just watch. I'd give him stuff for it behind the scenes. We all would. To the public, obviously, he's kind of a rebellious guy, but he's a great dude. I look forward to playing against him on Sunday."

Kingsbury said the two are very similar.

"Very competitive, obviously it starts there," Kingsbury said. "Both are winners, have been winners their entire life. Hate to lose at anything. Kyler is more of an introvert than Baker, but both effective leaders in their own right."

ESPN's Jake Trotter contributed to this report.