Baker Mayfield enjoyed quite the high-profile collegiate career on and off the field.
So it’s not much of a surprise that that Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback is embracing the visibility that will accompany his team when it appears on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” training camp documentary series for the upcoming season.
“For me looking at it, and us as a team, I’d say it can be good if you handle it right,” Mayfield told SiriusXM NFL radio, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I’ll just say that. If you think about it as a way to get on camera and try to show off and do certain things and handle it the wrong way then that can be very negative, it can be a distraction.
“But if you use it as a sense of, ‘OK, I got to block out everything else and just focus on playing ball,’ then that can be a great thing for us.”
HBO on Thursday announced the choice of the Browns for the “Hard Knocks” series, and the selection of Mayfield with the No. 1 overall in the recent NFL Draft certainly was among the reasons why.
“The storylines in Cleveland are compelling, which make the Browns an ideal partner on Hard Knocks,” NFL Films senior executive Ross Ketover said. “We’re looking forward to showing NFL fans around the world what the Haslams (owners), John Dorsey (general manager), Hue Jackson and the coaching staff are doing to rebuild the team and reboot one of the most iconic franchises in sports.”
Cleveland stumbled to an 0-16 record in 2017, becoming the second team in league history to go winless for a 16-game season. It also put the Browns in position to land Mayfield, who initially was projected to be the fourth quarterback taken in the 2018 rookie class.
Mayfield was used to the glare of a national spotlight en route to winning the Heisman Trophy during his senior season at Oklahoma. His ascent to the No. 1 draft pick only made the lights brighter, even with Cleveland seeking to temper expectations of him by naming Tyrod Taylor the starting quarterback.
“Hard Knocks wouldn’t be there if we weren’t 0-16 last year,” said Mayfield. “So we’re working towards never having to have that situation again. I’m looking forward to being a start of something new there in Cleveland.”
Mayfield was part of a documentary series — “Being Baker” — leading up to the draft so doesn’t see the intrustive nature of the cameras rolling as such a pitfall.
“There’s always tugging and pulling from a little bit of every direction,” acknowledged Mayfield. “I was fortunate enough to do a docu-series throughout the draft process but I did that to show the behind-the-scenes stuff. But when it comes to business, I can always flip the switch. I know when I need to turn it on and go to work.”