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Jake Trotter, ESPN Staff Writer 40d

Browns' Baker Mayfield says he's working hard on field, staying quiet off it

NFL, Cleveland Browns

Baker Mayfield didn't boast or brag during his first media interview this offseason. The usually brash Cleveland Browns quarterback didn't talk trash or call out any opponents, either.

Instead, coming off a rocky second year in the NFL, Mayfield said he's taking a different approach leading up to the 2020 season.

To be specific, a much quieter one.

"It's just time to work, do our thing, instead of talking about it," Mayfield said Wednesday on a video call with reporters. "This is the first media thing I've done, just because there's no need to be talking about it.

"It's just time to go do it."

Mayfield was not quiet in his first two seasons in the league.

A stellar and boisterous rookie season -- which included him staring down Hue Jackson from the field after the fired Browns coach took a job with the rival Cincinnati Bengals midseason -- made Mayfield one of the NFL's most popular players, a label supported by jersey sales.

But last season, the bluster backfired on Mayfield, who ranked second in the league with 21 interceptions and became a target of opposing players and commentators.

As a result, Mayfield was involved in a series of spats, including with San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, wide receiver Antonio Brown and ESPN analyst and former NFL coach Rex Ryan. In a preseason cover story with GQ, Mayfield also drew headlines when he told the magazine it "blows my mind" that the New York Giants would draft Daniel Jones with the No. 6 pick, given the QB's mediocre record at Duke.

Mayfield said Wednesday he's working on letting his play do the talking. 

"Right now, it's moving in silence, which is fine with me," said Mayfield, who has turned down multiple interview requests this offseason, according to a source close to him. "That's how I used to do it before getting on a bigger stage. Get back to the fundamentals to where I can accomplish the goals when the season comes around."

Staying quiet this offseason doesn't mean Mayfield hasn't been busy.

With the Browns hiring former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, Mayfield will be playing for a fourth head coach since entering the league. While learning the new system, Mayfield said he has been watching tape of the Vikings' offense, and he believes he can improve his efficiency in Stefanski's multiple-tight-end, play-action-heavy schemes.

"I think it matches up very nicely," Mayfield said. "Being in control, getting checks in the run game, just being efficient. Last year was not a great year for turnovers, but I have always prided myself on not turning the ball over. ... Where we do take our shots, it has to be smart decisions. There's nothing wrong with throwing an incompletion every once in a while. Scheme-wise, how [Stefanski] is coaching it -- I think it's going to be a great fit."

With the Browns operating a league-mandated virtual offseason due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mayfield two weeks ago invited nine teammates to his hometown of Austin, Texas, to work out together. Still recovering from offseason surgeries, starting wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry were unable make the trip. But tight end Austin Hooper, one of the Browns' prized free-agent signings, and new backup quarterback Case Keenum were among those in attendance. 

"Good for everybody to be speaking the same terminology and just kind of hanging out during all this," Mayfield said. "We had a chance to get outside and throw a little bit. Felt really good to get around them."

Mayfield admitted that his upcoming third season, after which he'll be eligible for an extension, is big, especially after having struggled at times in 2019. But, he said, he won't invite or put any added pressure on himself.

"There's no need for that, because if I win, good things will happen," Mayfield said. "Good things will happen for our team and the guys around me, and that's the most important part. If I play better, our team is going to do better."

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