Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said he was caught off guard by Odell Beckham Sr's criticism. On Tuesday, Beckham Sr. blamed Mayfield for the lack of Odell Beckham Jr's production. "Naturally, he wants his son to succeed.
I can't blame him for that," Mayfield said, per ESPN. "I want Odell to succeed. That's where we were at -- or at least so I thought." Mayfield claimed he and Beckham Sr. had some positive conversations in the past.
"I've had conversations with his dad before, man-to-man, face-to-face, and I was pretty surprised by the video and the intentions and the feelings behind it," said Mayfield, who scoffed at the allegation that he has deliberately not thrown Beckham's way this season.
"I would be lying if I said otherwise."
Mayfield open to playing agains with Beckham
On Wednesday, Beckham was excused from practice as the team could soon be releasing him. "If he's back, then we'll work through it and do whatever it takes," Mayfield said.
"I can put my ego and pride to the side to win. Because that's all I care about is winning. If not, then we'll roll with the guys we have out there. And those guys will know that I completely trust them, and they'll know that I'm always here for them, and that's the leader and the type of quarterback I am."
Beckham spoke with Jarvis Landry about the incident, Beckham's closest friend on the team. "We didn't get into too many details because I do not want to draw that line in between them at all. That's not what I am trying to do," Mayfield said.
"Jarvis wants to win just as badly as I do. Those are the types of guys, the type of focus that we need to have right now." The Browns face the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday and Mayfield acknowledged that this drama won't help.
"Unfortunately, this is a part of the job that's not much fun," Mayfield said of preparing for a game amid the drama. "You want to try and eliminate the distractions and everything, but trying to get the best out of your teammates is first and foremost, and I think the most important thing for me is trying to elevate the guys around me.
Being able to get the focus back on football is extremely important. This is something that's very unique. "There's not a manual for this one. There's not a handbook on how to navigate this besides talk to people, see how they are feeling about it and just keep it open because this is one of those things that, like everybody can see, it can be a dividing thing or it can be a rallying cry."