Hue Jackson: It's Up To Baker To Clear The Air

If Baker Mayfield and Hue Jackson want to bury the hatchet, Mayfield will have to initiate

Zach Gelb
July 24, 2019 - 8:54 am
Baker Mayfield Hue Jackson NFL

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Last November, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield took a shot at former head coach Hue Jackson, calling him “fake” for joining the Cincinnati Bengals coaching staff after getting fired by Cleveland.

Mayfield and Jackson haven’t exactly buried the hatchet, but if they do, Mayfield will have to initiate.

“I think it would be for him to clear the air,” Jackson told Zach Gelb, who was filling in as host of After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I’ve been coaching in this league a long time and coached a lot of players, a lot of quarterbacks, receivers, running backs, offensive line. I’ve never had anybody say that about me or feel that way about me. So that’s different. I’m pretty comfortable and confident in who I am and what I am, so I feel good about where I am and what I’ve done. So again, if there was something I said or something I did, I think he knows that I try to come from a good place. Nobody’s perfect, but there was nothing that I know that I did to him that would have made him feel the way he did.”

Jackson, who went 3-36-1 in Cleveland, said he was not hurt by Mayfield’s comments.

“No, trust me, if you think that would hurt, think about all the other things that get said about me,” Jackson said. “I don’t worry about that. I don’t get caught up in any of that because I know sometimes players are in the heat of the moment. And so, I can’t control that. All I can do is control me.”

Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in 2018, opened his rookie season backing up Tyrod Taylor, who was injured in Week 3. Mayfield entered the fray and turned a 14-0 deficit against the Jets into a 21-17 Browns win.

Jackson does not regret naming Taylor the starter.

“That was a decision that was made with ownership and myself,” he said. “As I told Baker, at some point in time, it will show itself. I didn’t know how it was going to happen, but I knew he was going to end up playing. It’s unfortunate that Tyrod got hurt, (and Mayfield) became the starter. And people forget, if I didn’t want him to play, I could have put Tyrod back in there. So obviously I knew it was time for Baker to be the guy. I left him in there. 

“I don’t think people really (understand) locker rooms and teams, especially a team that was coming off of being 1-31,” Jackson continued. “You’ve got to be able to keep their trust, so if I tell them something, I need to do exactly what I said I was going to do and then let it unfold that way. That’s the best way for your team.” 
Despite Mayfield’s critique, Jackson says he will “absolutely” root for the former Heisman Trophy winner to succeed in the NFL.

“I’m one of the reasons why he came to Cleveland,” Jackson said. “I stood on the table for him. I still think he’s a tremendous football player. I have no problem with Baker Mayfield whatsoever. Again, there’s things that you wish (weren’t) portrayed the way it was, but at the end of the day, he’s got to do what he feels he needs to do to play at a high level. I think the guy is very, very talented, and I think Cleveland is glad they have him.”

Click below to listen to Jackson’s interview in its entirety.