Baker Mayfield wasn’t done embarrassing Hue Jackson.
The Browns rookie quarterback put up 35 points on Jackson’s defense in the first 33 minutes Sunday in a rout of the Bengals, then rebuffed Jackson’s postgame hug attempt and criticized his decision to join the division rival after being fired by the Browns at midseason.
On Monday, Mayfield called Jackson “fake” while attempting to defend himself from criticism by ESPN’s Damien Woody.
On “First Take,” Woody said it was childish and hypocritical for Mayfield to resent Jackson.
“Baker Mayfield needs to grow up,” said Woody, a former NFL offensive lineman. “This is pro football, you’re dealing with grown men.
“What I found funny about this whole thing, Baker Mayfield, didn’t he go from Texas Tech to Oklahoma? Two teams in the Big 12. You went from one rival to another in the same conference.”
“Baker Mayfield needs to grow up.”
— First Take (@FirstTake) November 26, 2018
Mayfield walked on at Texas Tech, played eight games, wasn’t happy with how he was treated after an injury and transferred following his freshman season.
“Not even comparable…” Mayfield wrote in an Instagram reply to a post from “First Take.” “I didn’t lose 30+ games be fake and then do that… I wasn’t gonna have a scholarship. Good try though buddy.”
Matt Mayfield had his brother’s back.
“There are about 10 people who know the truth of what happened at Tech behind the scenes and you damn sure aren’t one of them…” he wrote on Instagram. “Being a ‘grown man’ means not having to fake a friendship or respect for someone that a) didn’t have your back and b) was both uniquely and statistically bad at their job”
Mayfield, the No. 1 pick, had apparently been biting his tongue about Jackson for some time. He didn’t want to interact with Jackson on Sunday, quickly shaking hands before and after the game, then explaining himself to reporters.
“I didn’t feel like talking,” he said. “Left Cleveland, goes down to Cincinnati, I don’t know. 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.”
Jackson was fired Oct. 29 after going 3-36-1 in 2½ years in Cleveland. Fifteen days later he was hired by the Bengals as special assistant to coach Marvin Lewis. Mayfield said the move downstate added a bit of motivation but denied it left a bad taste in his mouth.
“Nah, it’s just like any rivalry game,” he 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. I think that’s how the team should treat it, too.”
Jackson was highly complimentary of Mayfield during the draft process, throughout the first half of the season and in interviews after he was fired. The genesis of Mayfield’s issue with Jackson isn’t clear, but Mayfield appeared to side with coordinator Todd Haley during the weeks before Jackson and Haley were fired with owner Jimmy Haslam citing “internal discord.”
Perhaps Mayfield was upset Jackson didn’t let him compete with veteran Tyrod Taylor for the starting job or give him a chance to play until Week 3 after Taylor sustained a concussion.
“In all honesty, it is time to get on with the Texans with that stuff,” interim coach Gregg Williams said, mentioning the next opponent. “Those are the things that are over and done with. Those guys respect everything about Hue. I am really not even looking into that anymore.”
Woody wasn’t alone in criticizing Mayfield’s postgame reaction regarding Jackson. Co-host Stephen A. Smith agreed, as did Fox Sports’ Doug Gottlieb.
“Somebody that was in Tech’s locker room, lost his starting job and went to Oklahoma to have a great career night (sic) not want to come off as a complete and total d–k” Gottlieb tweeted. “Players get picked up by teams in division a lot. Hue didn’t leave, he was fired. Just like being cut.”
Mayfield’s social media reply extended the drama and ensured he’ll be asked about Jackson again Wednesday. It will also add to the intrigue when the Bengals visit FirstEnergy Stadium on Dec. 23 for the rematch.
Jackson shouldn’t count on a hug.