CLEVELAND, Ohio — Hue Jackson sought out Baker Mayfield on the field after his 35-20 victory over the Bengals to congratulate him, and went in for a hug.
Mayfield, who threw four touchdown passes and put up TDs on his first five drives except for the few plays at the end of the half, rebuffed the embrace and settled for a handshake instead.
“He said ‘good job, good game,’’’ Mayfield said. “Yeah, it was brief. I didn’t feel like talking.’’
“I don’t know. Left Cleveland, goes down to Cincinnati, I don’t know,’’ said Mayfield. “It’s just somebody that was in our locker room, asking for us to play for him and then goes to a different team we play twice a year. Everybody can have their spin on it but that’s how I feel.’’
So, Jackson joining the Bengals just two weeks after he was fired by the Browns — with both matchups in the rivalry still on the docket — left a bad taste in his mouth?
“It’s just like any rivalry game,’’ Mayfield said. “That’s how it is now. That’s how I’m going to treat it every time we play him, but there’s no hate. That’s just how it is. That’s how I’m going to treat it and I think that’s how the team should treat it too.’’
The writing was on the wall regarding’s Mayfield’s feelings towards Jackson when he was asked Wednesday if Jackson’s presence in Cincinnati would give them edge.
“No,” Mayfield said.
Mayfield’s chilly post-game reception for Jackson, now a special assistant to Bengals coach Marvin Lewis focusing mostly on defense, was similar to what transpired before the game.
Jackson, who made his rounds shaking hands and hugging players, coaches, other staffers and owner Jimmy Haslam, walked toward Mayfield on the field during pre-game warmups, and Mayfield walked toward him too. When they met, they shook hands briefly and that was it. No warm embrace like there with Tyrod Taylor, Jabrill Peppers and some of the other players.
He admitted he used Jackson’s defection to the enemy as motivation — and then went out and had a monster game, with 258 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and a stellar 143.9 rating.
“A little bit,’’ he said. “We have a lot of guys that have history with Cincinnati. (Fullback/tight end) Orson Charles was playing like a maniac today. He kept saying that they’re the people that cut him. And then our QB coach, Kenny Zampese, was there for 15 years (and was fired after two games last year). We have history with Cincinnati, that’s what happens when you have a division rival, you play them twice a year, there’s going to be that.
“The best thing about that is our guys handled it well. That motivation and sometimes that emotion can get in the way, but our guys handled it the right way.’’
It’s no surprise, then, that Mayfield was amused when he heard during his press conference that free safety Damarious Randall handed the ball to Hue Jackson after his second-quarter interception, perhaps even sacrificing some return yards for the chance to walk over a few steps toward the Bengals’ sideline and place the ball in his hands. Jackson calmly accepted the gift and patted Randall on the head.
“I did not (see that),’’ said Mayfield. “Oh, geez. Surprising? No, not really out of Damarious. Wow. Ok.’’
He also said he didn’t know that Randall said on Friday of the Bengals that “if they don’t have A.J. (Green), they’re getting ass beat.’’
“We want that,’’ said Mayfield. “We don’t want the bulletin-board material like that. And I think there’s a fine line, but that’s who Damarious is. He’s going to talk and he’s going to try and back it up. Most of the time he does. That’s ok.’’
Browns left guard Joel Bitonio agreed with Mayfield that Jackson put a bulls-eye on his back when he crossed enemy lines two weeks ago.
“It’s the NFL and it’s a business, but he was our head coach the last two and a half years,’’ said Bitonio. “He was part of our organization and I know he tries to get back in it with Marvin, and it’s not disrespectful or anything but there are some personal issues to that. I mean, he went back to the enemy. We’ve got him two times this year. You bring a guy in because he knows your offense, there’s definitely some energy that you can pull from that.’’
Bitonio stressed “I don’t hate him for doing that or anything. He’s trying to keep his job, trying to work in the NFL and that’s good for him but there’s definitely some energy that we need to bring and we’ve got them one more time and they’re going to be more ready for this next time as well.’’
He said interim coach Gregg Williams didn’t use it as motivation.
“Didn’t say one thing about it honestly,’’ he said. “Said worry about what we have to do on the field.’’
So they took it upon themselves to whip themselves up into an anti-Jackson frenzy?
“It’s just so obvious that there’s something there,’’ he said. “The head coach leaves for another team because he got fired obviously. He’s trying to find work in the NFL which is understandable, but he’s still there. He’s still working with the enemy and it’s someone that you’ve been going to battle with for 40 games or something like that, and now he’s part of the enemy.’’
And Mayfield was in no mood to hug it out.
Source : https://www.cleveland.com/browns/2018/11/baker-mayfield-didnt-feel-like-talking-to-hue-jackson-post-game-after-he-defected-to-the-bengals.html