BEREA — Baker Mayfield received a lot of praise on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy and being the No. 1 pick of the Browns.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ compliment Wednesday ranks with the best.
“Yeah, it doesn’t get much higher than that,” Mayfield said Thursday. “That’s one of the greatest to play of all time. That’s the guy that I’ve had an unbelievable amount of respect for and looked up to just because of where I’m from first and then size and story, as well. So I’ve always enjoyed watching him.”
On a conference call with Browns media, Brees raved about Mayfield’s potential.
“Oh, I think he can be a lot better than me,” he said. “He’s got all the tools. He’s more athletic. He probably can run around better. He’s got a stronger arm.”
Mayfield is the backup to Tyrod Taylor and hasn’t played a regular-season NFL snap, so he didn’t want to get carried away with Brees’ prediction that he could surpass him. Brees is destined for the Hall of Fame and ranks at or near the top of most statistical passing categories in NFL history.
“It’s really cool,” Mayfield said. “It’s humbling, but unless I go to work every day, then it’s not going to matter. Expectations are one thing, but you’ve got to do your own. Got to do your own.”
Receiver Jarvis Landry took notice of Brees’ compliment.
“Drew’s a GOAT (Greatest of All Time), he’s the guy, for him to say that, that’s one of the highest praises you can get from one of the guys that is tremendously respected around the league and around the world,” he said. “So that’s huge.”
Brees and Mayfield grew up in Austin, Texas, but have never spoken. That will change before the game Sunday when the Browns play in New Orleans, and Mayfield’s looking forward to the encounter.
“A lot. Looking forward to competing and watching that,” Mayfield said. “As much as I appreciate the compliment, we’ve got business to do. That’s first and foremost.”
Mayfield said he didn’t get much reaction from family and friends after Brees’ comments made headlines.
“No, they know me. I’m not going to pay too much attention to it,” he said.
But the source of the praise registered. Mayfield has studied Brees intently.
“He’s one of the main guys,” Mayfield said. “I had a huge amount of respect for him. He’s a guy to look up to in my position.”