Browns QB Baker Mayfield tells Kurt Warner 'internal' criticism he's received has been 'tricky part about this year'
CLEVELAND — Baker Mayfield is accustomed to outsiders doubting him.
But the Browns quarterback drawing friendly fire from teammates — or more specifically, members of their families — has been a new experience for him this season.
Mayfield has been criticized for his play on social media by the fathers of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and running back Kareem Hunt. In the case of Beckham, his father ripping Mayfield foreshadowed the Browns releasing him on Nov. 8.
In an interview conducted Friday that aired Sunday morning on NFL Network, Mayfield told Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner dealing with “internal” criticism has been an obstacle this season.
“It comes down to trying to find an even balance of listening to those opinions around you that truly matter — friends, family, teammates — and that's been the tricky part about this year,” Mayfield said. “[It] has been a lot of internal things. It hasn't been just outside noise. I have to be myself and try to do my job at 100%. The guys that truly know me understand that. We need to take care of business in the building, and I need to be myself for these guys.”
The Browns (6-6) will host the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens (8-4) on Sunday afternoon with Cleveland's playoff hopes on the line.
Coming off their Week 13 bye, the Browns need to win at least four of their final five regular-season games to qualify for the postseason for the second consecutive year.
“What we need to do overall is be much better in critical situations, whether it's third down, red zone and then playing complementary football more consistently,” Mayfield said. “We've played maybe one complete football game as an offense, defense, special teams, so we need to put that all together. We're in a situation where if we take care of business, we'll be happy with where we're at. It's one week at a time, and we've got a bunch of fighters on this team that I truly appreciate.”
Cleveland Browns takeaways:GM Andrew Berry expects healthier Baker Mayfield to play best ball down stretch
Mayfield obviously needs to play better down the stretch than he has for the vast majority of this season. He told Warner he feels significantly healthier after resting during the bye.
Mayfield suffered a completely torn labrum in his left shoulder in Week 2 and a fractured humerus bone in that same non-throwing shoulder in Week 6. Mayfield will likely need to undergo offseason surgery on the torn labrum, but he has yet to publicly concede he will have surgery. His lower-body injuries (left heel, right knee contusion and groin) have been a factor in some or all of the past four games.
“[My health is] night and day compared to where I was heading into last week, which is great for me,” said Mayfield, who has been wearing a harness on his left shoulder for virtually the entire season. “If your lower body is not able to move around and especially with me with me with my violent throwing motion, how I plant and how I torque, I need my feet to feel good, and I'm in a much better place right now.”
Cleveland QB has had long list of medical issues:Bad shoulder 'new normal' for Browns' Baker Mayfield
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com.