The Browns are coming to realize that Baker Mayfield brings this out of people.
Which is fine and part of their personality. But there are still people who have to try to keep him upright against motivated foes.
Via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Browns guard Joel Bitonio said he knows he has to prepare for extra effort at times.
“It’s one of those things that people, they see Baker’s name, they see him the media, they see some of his quotes and things of that nature, and they want a piece of him,’’ Bitonio said. “And it’s one of those things that we’re going to expect and we’re ready for.
“If that’s the way they motivate themselves to play, I just don’t know how someone can play harder. From my perspective, I don’t know how I could go out on the field and be like, ‘This Baker Mayfield guy did something, so I’m going to play harder today.’”
Monday’s loss to the 49ers provided a coupe of examples, from Nick Bosa planting an imaginary flag after a sack, as payback from a two-year-old college snub. Then came the Richard Sherman handshake-gate, in which a perceived slight became a massive story for a day.
“I feel like you’re already at a point as a professional where you’re playing your hardest, at least I hope so,’’ Bitonio said. “But maybe some guys aren’t at that level. Maybe some guys need it for motivation or to inspire them to do that, but as a professional, I feel like you should be motivated to go out and play. But obviously some guys are using it because we’ve heard it multiple times where teams are saying, ‘Yeah, we want to be motivated by this.’ And that’s what they’re using, so we’ve got to step up to the plate ourselves.”
Mayfield’s on his side, so Bitonio doesn’t mind. But the fact other guys are bringing their best because of Mayfield’s big personality makes his job harder sometimes, as well.