BEREA — The three-word reminder wraps around his left wrist on a white rubber bracelet.
Humble Over Hype.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield has said repeatedly he’ll keep the attitude of a walk-on despite being the No. 1 pick by the Browns last week. Nothing’s given, including the starting job, which coach Hue Jackson emphatically reiterated Friday belongs to veteran Tyrod Taylor.
“Tyrod Taylor is the starting quarterback of this football team. That will not change,” Jackson said.
How does Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner and three-year starter at Oklahoma, react to being told again and again he’s the backup?
“I am always competitive,” Mayfield said Saturday before the second minicamp practice. “It would not matter what he was saying in regards to the competition, I am still going to compete and try to win that job. I am going to listen to him, but I have to go compete, and first and foremost, I have to learn my job.”
He admitted he had plenty to clean up after an up-and-down first day that included fumbled snaps. He spent extra time again Saturday working on receiving the snap from center and dropping back, something he never practiced in high school and barely with the Sooners.
“That’s why working the footwork under center is the important part right now, because I didn’t do it,” said Mayfield, who bobbled one snap but didn’t drop any Saturday. “We’re going to hammer that until I’m good, it feels natural, and that’s the way it should be. I can play out of the gun, everybody here knows that, so we’re going to hammer that and we’re going to work on what I need to work on, so we can go from there.”
The Browns loved Mayfield’s quick feet before the draft and believe they allow him to get away from center so fast he can see over the line like someone 6-foot-3, not 6-0 5/8. Mayfield said the feet give him an advantage but can also be a detriment.
“I have to be calm. Almost less-is-more mentality,” he said. “Gotta be efficient with it, gotta stay calm. And that’s what I’ve been trying to work on is not creating my own pressure, not moving around too much.”
The bracelet goes perfectly with the “Walk On” hoodie he wore on draft night.
“That is just a symbolization of where I have come from,” he said. “It did not matter what was going to happen that day, the mentality is that you start fresh. You have to start with that mindset.
“I do not have it all figured out whatsoever. I have to work for it, and I have to earn it.”
Rookie minicamp didn’t start as cornerback Denzel Ward hoped.
Ward, the No. 4 pick in the draft last week out of Ohio State, didn’t practice Saturday after straining a hip flexor Friday in his first practice in the NFL.
“It’s just precautionary,” Ward said through the team’s media relations department. “I wish I was out there with my guys but the training staff is being smart about it. I felt a little something in my hip yesterday at practice but I should be back soon.”
Ward participated in the early portions of practice Friday, then sat out team drills.
THE CLEVELAND EXPERIENCE
Mayfield talked with former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar at a rookie dinner Thursday. The Browns haven’t had a franchise quarterback since Kosar was traded in 1993.
“He had a lot of little tips and bits of advice, just about how it used to be and how much fun it was,” Mayfield said. “When you win here, everybody rallies around it.
“Just talking about he’ll be around if I need to bounce things off of him, he’s a guy that I can lean on, and that’s something that makes you feel comfortable, makes you feel at home in a place like this where he’s won before.”
The selection of Mayfield received a mixed reaction initially from Browns fans, but he said his limited interaction at the airport and at an Indians game has been positive.
“It’s been so far so good,” he said. “So I’ve definitely enjoyed it, felt welcomed and this feels like home already.”
THE ODD COUPLE
Mayfield thought it was “some sick joke” when he got his roommate assignment for minicamp.
Running back Nick Chubb, the No. 35 pick, was part of the Georgia team that beat Oklahoma 54-48 in double overtime in the semifinals of the college football playoffs. Chubb rushed 14 times for 145 yards, a 10.4 average and two touchdowns.
Mayfield, who went 23-for-35 passing for 287 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, said he’s still haunted by the loss.
“Almost every night, thinking I could have been a national champion,” he said. “Things happen for a reason so I can’t worry about that now.”
He was kidding about not wanting to room with Chubb. He said they hadn’t discussed the game and were getting along great.
“He is a great guy,” Mayfield said. “He is very quiet, hard-working.
“You can tell everything that you have heard on the outside about him — how well-respected he is, his work ethic — you can see that. Being up close in person and being able to see what he can do and just the cuts and his strength and acceleration, it is impressive.”
Ward went to Nordonia High School but said he isn’t worried about the added pressure of playing close to home.
“Playing college football at Ohio State, you’re viewed by everyone around the world, so I don’t really fall into too much pressure of media or people watching the game,” he said Friday. “The pressure I have on myself are the goals I set in place and goals I plan on accomplishing.”
He said his mom will handle the ticket requests from family and friends.
Defense dominated the second minicamp practice, forcing several turnovers, including an interception of Mayfield in seven-on-sevens.
** Undrafted offensive lineman Desmond Harrison left practice with cramps.
** Bills general manager Brandon Beane told the Buffalo News he talked to Browns GM John Dorsey more than anyone in the NFL about a draft-day trade, but they couldn’t reach agreement. Dorsey wasn’t willing to give up the No. 4 pick he used on Ward.