If former Browns coach Hue Jackson and current Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield are going to bury the hatchet, Baker Mayfield will be the one swinging it.
In a Tuesday night appearance with Zach Gelb of CBS Sports Radio, Jackson made it clear that, if there’s any problem between him and Mayfield (and there is), it’s for Mayfield — who’s still miffed about Jackson going to work for the Bengals after being fired by the Browns — to fix it.
“I think it would be for him to clear the air,” Jackson said. “I’ve been coaching in this league a long time and coached a lot of players, a lot of quarterbacks, receivers, running backs, offensive line. I’ve never had anybody say that about me or feel that way about me. So that’s different. So I’m pretty comfortable and confident in who I am and what I am and feel good about where I am and what I’ve done. So again if there was something I said or something I did I think he knows that I try to come from a good place. Nobody’s perfect, but there’s nothing that I know that I did to him that would have made him feel the way he did.”
Even if there’s unresolved tension between the two men (and there is), Jackson made it clear that he’s rooting for Baker.
“Absolutely,” Jackson said. “I’m one of the reasons why he came to Cleveland. I stood on the table for him. I still think he’s a tremendous football player. I have no problem with Baker Mayfield whatsoever. Again, there’s things you wish didn’t be portrayed the way it was. At the end of the day, he’s gotta do what he feels he needs to do to play at a high level.”
Jackson also defended the decision to make Tyrod Taylor the starting quarterback for Week One, arguing that Jackson told the players that Taylor was the starter and that Jackson couldn’t go back on that. Until, of course, he did.
“As I told Baker, at some point in time, it will show itself,” Jackson said of Mayfield eventually playing. “I didn’t know how it was gonna happen, but I knew he was gonna end up playing. It’s unfortunate that Tyrod got hurt, he became the starter. And people forget, if I didn’t want him to play, I could have put Tyrod back in there. So obviously I knew it was time for Baker to be the guy. I left him in there. So I really, you know, I don’t think people really [get] locker rooms and teams, especially a team that was coming off being 1-31. You’ve gotta be able to keep their trust. So if I tell them something, I need to do exactly what I said I was gonna do, and then let it unfold that way. That’s the best way for your team.”
The Browns eventually decided the best way for their team was to not have Jackson coach it. Some would say that the Browns waited too long to make that decision. Regardless, as the first training camp post-Jackson begins, Jackson keeps talking about the Browns — and some Browns keep talking about Jackson.