Baker Mayfield says he's grateful for his time with the Cleveland Browns but that he believes both sides agree it's time to "move on."
"I think it's been pretty obvious the mutual decision on both sides is to move on," Mayfield said Tuesday. "I'm thankful for my four years in Cleveland. There was a lot of ups and downs and a lot of learning experiences that I'll forever keep with me. Teammates and friends and relationships that I'll have for a lifetime... There's no resentment towards the city of Cleveland by any means."
Mayfield spoke to reporters at a youth football camp in Norman, Okla., in a rare media appearance since the Browns traded for and signed embattled quarterback Deshaun Watson to a historic long-term contract.
The Browns exercised Mayfield's fifth-year option on his rookie contract but have been trying — unsuccessfully — to trade him this off-season. The team has also signed Jacoby Brissett to back up Watson.
"I think I got frustrated with it not happening before mini camp and all those things," Mayfield said of trade talks. "But that's the stuff that's out of my control and so, you know, let those things happen and fall into place."
Watson, who is facing lawsuits and accusations of sexual assault from more than two dozen women, has a hearing with NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson Tuesday. Robinson will determine if Watson violated the NFL's personal conduct policy and a suspension is expected to be handed down before training camps open at the end of July.
Watson has settled with 20 of the 24 women who have sued him. On Monday, one of the women sued Watson's former team, the Houston Texans, saying the club "turned a blind eye" to his behaviour.
The Browns selected Mayfield first overall in the 2018 NFL Draft and he started all but four games for the team in the past four seasons. In 2020 Mayfield helped the Browns reach the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and the team upset rival Pittsburgh in the wild-card round.
Last season Mayfield threw for 3,010 yards on a 60.5 per cent compilation rate, collecting 17 touchdowns and 13 picks.
Mayfield was asked Tuesday if there was any way he could return to the Browns next season.
"For that to happen there would have to be some reaching out," he said. "But we're ready to move on I think on both sides."