BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Maybe it’s good the Browns and Giants won’t play this season.
They’re already trash-talking.
Comments by brash Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield and star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. created a stir at the training camps for both teams Tuesday, adding extra heat to brutally humid weather conditions.
Mayfield, the outspoken and uninhibited second-year QB, strangely took a swipe at the Giants and rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, the team’s first-round pick this year and potential heir apparent to Eli Manning.
In an interview with GQ, Mayfield said he was stunned the Giants would draft someone such as Jones, who played at Duke and was not considered one of the top QBs in this year’s class.
“Blows my mind,” Mayfield told the magazine, adding he thinks NFL teams are flawed in their quarterback evaluation. “Some people overthink it. That’s where people go wrong. They forget you’ve gotta win.”
Mayfield’s remarks were then presented to Jones, who was somewhat shocked by them because he doesn’t know Cleveland’s quarterback.
“I try not to listen to much that’s said,” Jones said. “I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that. I heard that before. I kind of have the same mindset, I certainly have a lot to focus on here, I have a lot to worry about here and I’m focused on that.”
He doesn’t have any background or known beef with Mayfield, which is why Jones was somewhat caught off guard.
“I have never spoken to him,” said Jones, who went 17-19 in college. “He has an opinion. A lot of people have opinions.”
While Mayfield’s feelings may have rubbed some the wrong way, first-year Browns coach Freddie Kitchens was unfazed.
Kitchens dismissed the idea that anything Mayfield says or does will make the Browns, who have huge expectations after a 7-8-1 season and the arrival of Beckham, any more of a target.
“We don’t care, all right?” Kitchens said, when asked if the bull’s-eye on the Browns had grown. “It is already on there so it does not matter. We will be ready to play. I do not know what a ‘bull’s-eye’ is,” he said. “I do not know what that is. Does anybody know? Does anybody know what a bull’s-eye is? If they are not trying to beat our ass and we are not trying to beat their ass, I do not know what else you do.
“That is what we are going to try and do, and hopefully, they try and do the same.”
Following practice, Mayfield posted on Instagram that his comments about Jones were taken out of context.
“This is not what I said … just so we’re clear,” Mayfield wrote. “I also said I was surprised I got drafted number one. Then was talking about the flaws in evaluating QBs. Where I brought up winning being important. Reporters and media will do anything to come up with a clickbait story. Heard nothing but good things and wish nothing but the best for Daniel.”
The former No. 1 overall pick is scheduled to meet with reporters Wednesday.
As for Beckham, he can’t seem to shake the Giants despite insisting he has moved on from his drama-filled days with them.
In a Sports Illustrated cover story, the three-time Pro Bowler said New York turned down better trade offers to send him to Cleveland in March. The Browns acquired Beckham and defensive end Olivier Vernon for guard Kevin Zeitler, safety Jabrill Peppers and first- and third-round picks.
“This wasn’t no business move,” he told SI. “This was personal. They thought they’d send me here to die.”
Shurmur, who spent part of last season sparring with Beckham or dealing with the endless theater that seems to follow him, chose not to engage any further with his former player.
“Quite frankly on our list of issues of the day it really doesn’t matter what Odell or Baker says,” Shurmur said. “There are many other things we probably should be discussing. Again, we wish him (Beckham) well and it was a trade. We said that all along, I said I would not comment on what he says about the situation.”
Beckham has acknowledged struggling in the weeks after the deal. He skipped almost all of Cleveland’s offseason program but he’s been adamant that he’s adjusted to his new team and city.
Kitchens believes Beckham.
“No doubt. When he came back, he was all in — exactly what he promised me he would do,” Kitchens said. “I trust him. He trusts me. I will not betray him. I do not think he will betray me.”
NOTES: Pro Bowl DE Myles Garrett missed practice with an unspecified illness. … Mayfield and Kitchens were presented with jerseys by Columbus Blue Jackets’ Nick Foligno and Brandon Dubinsky, who came to camp to show their support for the Browns. Kitchens followed the NHL club’s playoff run last season, and he’s amazed by the skill level it takes to play hockey. Has he ever tried the sport? “No, I am from Alabama,” he quipped. “There are no hockey sticks. There is a football, baseball and basketball and that is about it. “
AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan contributed to this report.
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