The Browns traded Mayfield last week.
The Browns are headed to Carolina to face the Panthers in Week 1. Baker says there may be history, but it’s still any other game.
“You know there’s a lot of relationships during Cleveland that I’m extremely grateful for it and it’s been four years of my life of a lot of changes and growing up that I’m very thankful for. Looking forward to playing against former teammates and familiar faces. That’s always fun to use it to compete against people you know. For me, it’s about just winning. It wouldn’t matter if it’s Cleveland or somebody else. It’s the first game of the year. You want to set a time for you guys around doing just the whole building in general. Obviously, it’s Cleveland, so there’s history there. It’s not like it’s going to mean anything extra to me, but I can’t handle it that way. I’m just going to try and handle it in the best way possible and that’s just to try and find a way to win. There’s going to be extra energy on that one. It’s going to be a great one to set the tone for the year,” he said.
Reporters pressed him on how the off-season went down, but Baker had only great things to say about his time in Cleveland.
“No animosity towards Cleveland. It’s a great football town and gave me the first 4 years of my career.”
“Cleveland’s a special place,” he said. “We all contributed to that special run,” answering a question about ending the Browns’ playoff drought.
“The fans in Cleveland are what makes that town so great,” Baker added.
“If I’m focused on the past, then I’m not doing my job as a Carolina Panther.”
Kickoff is scheduled at 1 p.m. at Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 11
“The past 4 years have been nothing short of truly life-changing since I heard my name called in the draft to go to Cleveland. This is not a message with hidden meaning. This is strictly to thank the city of Cleveland for embracing my family and me. We have made many memories and shared growing in this process through all the ups and downs. I have no clue what happens next, which is the meaning behind the silence I have had during the duration of this process. I can only control what I can, which is trusting in God’s plan throughout this process,” Mayfield said in a tweet.
The Browns signed Deshaun Watson days later.
“I haven’t thrown the ball this well in a long time,” Baker told reporters asking about his shoulder. Baker played through a shoulder injury for most of the 2021 season and had surgery as soon as the season ended.
Baker was a first-round draft pick in 2018. The Browns made the playoffs in 2020.
According to reports, the Browns will pay Baker $10.5 million and the Panthers will pay $5 million.