Tuesday's NFL: Baker Mayfield 'ready to move on' from Browns

By Cliff Brunt
Associated Press

Norman, Okla. — Baker Mayfield said the Cleveland Browns have work ahead if they want him to help them through their situation with Deshaun Watson.

Mayfield, speaking at his football camp near the University of Oklahoma’s campus on Tuesday, didn’t entirely close the door on stepping in if needed.

“No, I think for that to happen, there would have to be some reaching out,” Mayfield said. “But we’re ready to move on, I think, on both sides.”

Baker Mayfield is still on the Browns roughly a month before the opening of training camps.

The Browns made a major trade for Watson in March and then signed him to a record-setting $230 million contract.

Now, Watson faces a possible suspension from the league stemming from accusations of sexual misconduct by two dozen massage therapists in Texas.

Former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the NFL and the NFL Players’ Association, will hold a hearing to determine whether Watson violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy and whether to impose discipline.

Mayfield said he expected to be traded before the NFL Draft, but he’s still on the team roughly a month before the opening of training camps.

“I think I got frustrated with it not happening before minicamp and all those things, but it’s just the stuff that’s out of my control,” he said. “And so, you know, let those things happen and fall in place.”

Mayfield said he’s been working out with veteran receivers Danny Amendola and Cole Beasley and some others from the area near Lake Travis in Texas. He said that work gets his mind off the situation.

“You know, obviously if I was focused on not having a team and not being able to (prepare with a team), it’d be pretty miserable,” he said. “But I’m just working on getting better for myself. And then whenever this all happens, then learn a playbook and get the guys down as soon as possible.”

In the 2020 season, Mayfield led the Browns to a wild-card win at Pittsburgh for the franchise’s first playoff win in a quarter century. Cleveland then lost a close game at Kansas City in the divisional playoffs, fueling hopes that Mayfield could take them further in the coming seasons.

Instead, Mayfield tore the labrum in his left, non-throwing shoulder. He played through it, but struggled, and the Browns missed the playoffs with a 8-9 record.

He said the shoulder is better.

“Can swing a golf club too hard, so it’s going pretty good,” he joked.

Even while still on the roster, he spoke as though his days with the Browns were coming to an end.

“I’m thankful for my four years in Cleveland, and had a lot of ups and downs and a ton of learning experiences that I will forever keep with me,” he said.

Deshaun Watson's hearing continues Wednesday

Deshaun Watson’s hearing will continue on Wednesday after his legal team and the NFL presented their arguments in front of a retired judge in Delaware on the opening day, a person who was in attendance told The Associated Press.

Former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players’ Association, is conducting a hearing to determine whether Watson violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy and whether to impose discipline.

The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback agreed to settle 20 of 24 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct, but he’s still facing a significant penalty. A person familiar with the NFL’s position told the AP last week the league is seeking a lengthy suspension for Watson based on the number of sexual assault allegations and conversations with the 11 women who were made available for interviews. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the hearing have not been disclosed publicly.

Watson’s side, led by renowned attorney Jeffrey Kessler, is arguing there’s no basis for a long suspension. Two separate Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints stemming from the allegations. Watson has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to clear his name.

The NFL has punished several players for violating the league’s personal conduct policy without criminal charges. In 2010, Ben Roethlisberger received a six-game suspension after being accused of sexual assault by two women. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell later reduced the suspension to four games. Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott got six games in 2017 for domestic violence incidents.

On Monday, a woman who previously sued Watson filed a lawsuit against the Houston Texans, alleging his former team provided him with resources to enable his actions and “turned a blind eye” to his behavior.

This is the first hearing for Robinson, who was the first woman Chief Judge for the District of Delaware. Previously, Goodell had the authority to impose discipline for violations of the personal conduct policy. Still, Goodell holds considerable power. If either the union or league appeals Robinson’s decision, Goodell or his designee “will issue a written decision that will constitute full, final and complete disposition of the dispute,” per terms of Article 46 in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

That means Goodell could ultimately overrule Robinson's decision and give Watson one year or even an indefinite suspension due to the potential for more cases.

The Browns traded a slew of draft picks to acquire Watson and gave him a five-year, $230 million guaranteed contract in March.

McLaurin's new deal

Terry McLaurin and the Commanders hammered out a new contract for the star receiver, ending the team’s biggest football-related saga of a tumultuous offseason a month before training camp begins.

McLaurin agreed to terms on a three-year contract, according to two people with knowledge of the move who spoke to the AP.

One person confirmed the new deal is worth up to $71 million with roughly $53 million guaranteed, including a $28 million signing bonus. According to Spotrac, a website that tracks contracts, it’s the highest signing bonus for a receiver, slightly more than the $27.5 million DeAndre Hopkins got from the Arizona Cardinals in 2020.

McLaurin, who turns 27 in September, had one year left on his rookie contract and skipped offseason workouts while negotiations were ongoing.

Extra points

Bills co-owner Kim Pegula is “progressing well” while rehabilitating from a health issue she experienced earlier this month, the family said in a statement released.

The family would only say Pegula is resting, while adding they are “grateful for the medical professionals providing her care, and to everyone for their prayers and well wishes.”

The family would not say whether Pegula remains in the intensive care unit of a Florida hospital or specify the medical issue in asking to continue respecting their need for privacy.

The statement is the first update on Pegula’s health in two weeks, when the family first revealed she was receiving medical care for what was called “some unexpected health issues.”

… Prime Video is turning to an experienced host for its coverage of “Thursday Night Football."

Amazon announced that Charissa Thompson will host the pregame, halftime and postgame coverage for its first season as the exclusive home of the primetime package.

Thompson will also continue to host Sunday’s Fox “NFL Kickoff,” which she has done for the past three seasons