Even Mayfield said he knows the Week 1 storyline is “great.” His departure from Cleveland was full of headlines, and the subsequent trade to Carolina means that he’ll play his former team in his Panther debut.
Despite his history of fiery comments and a reports of spicy preseason exchange this season (which he denied), Mayfield has kept that side of his personality largely buttoned up in media settings since his arrival.
He has remained stoic but honest, admitting he won’t be a “robot” about the matchup but acknowledging there won’t be as much of an added edge as there will be familiarity.
“Football is a violent, very emotional, passionate sport, and that’s the way I’ve always played it,” Mayfield said. “I’m not going to change that. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a great storyline – it really is – because I wasn’t expected to be out of Cleveland. But after Week 1, there are 16 more that really, really matter. That’s how I’m approaching it.”
Despite receiving the playbook just two weeks before training camp, Mayfield won the job over last year’s starter Sam Darnold. He’s since taken command of a room that has had injury issues of its own, including Darnold’s ankle sprain that has him sidelined for at least four weeks, and a season-ending Lisfranc injury to rookie Matt Corral.
Mayfield looked increasingly comfortable in his final preseason start against Buffalo, going 9-of-15 for 89 yards and two touchdowns.