Baker Mayfield has assorted shiny trophies T.J. Green Jersey , plaques and awards from his college days. Probably more than he realizes.
So far, his biggest NFL honor can't be hung or placed on a shelf.
Mayfield was humbled by compliments made toward him by Saints star quarterback Drew Brees, who believes the Browns rookie is destined for fame.
On Wednesday, Brees gushed when talking about Mayfield.
"I think he can be a lot better than me," Brees said. "He's got all the tools. He's more athletic. He probably can run around better. He's got a stronger arm."
Mayfield was moved by the praise.
"Yeah, it doesn't get much higher than that," Mayfield said following practice. "That's one of the greatest to play of all time. That's the guy that I've had an unbelievable amount of respect for and looked up to just because of where I'm from first and then size and story as well. So I've always enjoyed watching him."
Mayfield hopes to meet Brees for the first time Sunday as the Browns (0-0-1) visit the Saints (0-1), who lost their home opener 48-40 to Tampa Bay last week.
For now, Mayfield is Cleveland's No. 2 quarterback, waiting his turn behind starter Tyrod Taylor. The Heisman Trophy winner grew up in Texas patterning his game after Brees, who entered the league with far less fanfare and minimal expectations following a storied career at Purdue.
The knock on Brees coming out of college was that he was too short to succeed in the pro game. He'd be swallowed in the pocket and there was no way he'd be able to see receivers, never mind complete passes.
Well, all Brees has done on the way to numerous Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl title Jordan Mills Jersey , is become one of just three quarterbacks to surpass 70,000 yards passing.
The Hall of Fame awaits.
And while Mayfield appreciated Brees' comments, they'll only be words if he doesn't produce.
"It's really cool. It's humbling, but unless I go to work every day, then it's not going to matter," he said. "Expectations are one thing, but you've got to do your own. Got to do your own."
Brees' remarks also caught the attention of Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry.
"You're talking about, especially me being from Louisiana, Drew's a G.O.A.T.," Landry said. "He's the guy. For him to say that, that's one of the highest praises you can get from one of the guys that is tremendously respected around the league and around the world. So that's huge."
Of course, Mayfield can't do much about building a legacy on the sideline.
The Browns are taking a slow-is-better approach with Mayfield, whom they believe is their QB of the future 鈥?not the present.
Barring an injury Brett Favre Jersey , Mayfield won't play this week against the Saints. And unless something changes dramatically soon, the Browns intend to have Mayfield sharpen his skills during practice until they feel he's ready to start.
That's been the plan since March, when Cleveland traded for Taylor, who led Buffalo to the playoffs last season.
Browns coach Hue Jackson said he won't be swayed to change direction by the early success the New York Jets have had with Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall pick. Darnold shook off throwing an interception that was returned for a TD on his first attempt and completed 16 of 21 passes for 192 yards and two TDs in a rout of Detroit on Monday night.
"I like our young quarterback a lot, but it didn't change my mind on anything," Jackson said. "Baker's been really good in practice. I think he's still growing. The thing I love, he's so engaged in what we're doing. That is a fist bump to him because I'm sure it's tough.
"I'm sure he wants to play. Any competitor wants to. At the same time, I think he's ready. He's preparing himself week in and week out on what it takes to play. And when his day comes, he's going to go out there and play well. I keep saying that. Do not know when it is, but when it does happen, he will play well."
Taylor's 15 of 40 performance last week against Pittsburgh sparked some debate as to whether the Browns were handling their QB situation 鈥?and Mayfield 鈥?correctly.
"The most important thing is that he's our future," Jackson said. "If he is http://www.chicagobearsteamonline.com/markus-wheaton-jersey , we don't have to rush this thing. When everybody saw the numbers last week, everybody wanted to go, 'OK, Tyrod is out. Let's go the other way.' Let's slow down a little bit here. Let's get this thing going. Week 1, here we go to Week 2. Let's see if we can improve on offense and play better."
Because he’s smart and rich, Josh Rosen has had to explain to people that he actually likes football.
This week, he showed it, or at least tried to.
According to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, Rosen tried to decline the invitation to聽the NFL Player Association’s 鈥淩ookie Premiere鈥?so he could stay in Arizona and practice, but was told he couldn’t.
That decision sparked some back-and-forth on Twitter between ESPN and the union over a report that one player wanted to, and created some confusion about what could and couldn’t be done by players.
The event is voluntary, but players are told that by rule, they can’t work out with their teams during the event if they choose to skip it. (Which keeps teams from making them “volunteer” for their “voluntary” workouts instead.) But the CBA says that teams must permit rookies to attend the event http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/allen-hurns-jersey , and doesn’t specify that they can’t be at the team facility if they don’t go. There’s a side agreement between the league and the union on the matter, and the league sends out a memo each year saying that players invited to the event can’t practice during that weekend.
鈥淭hey鈥檙e new members of the NFL and say, 鈥楬ey, I want to stick around and practice,鈥欌€?said Ahmad Nassar, president of NFL Players, Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the union. 鈥淲e understand that and so does the NFL. The reality is we can鈥檛 force them to come.鈥?/p>
While the minutiae of the interpretation of the CBA might not move the needle, it’s at least a bit of evidence (such that he should have to provide any) that Rosen wanted to stay in Arizona and work on his craft.
That’s the kind the thing that people who care about football do.
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