Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield made his much-awaited (and slightly delayed) arrival at the Senior Bowl Tuesday afternoon, and he looked like a guy who had not played much football in the last three weeks.
Mayfield’s first practice was uneven, but got better as it went along. He had trouble with at least one snap — not a surprise, considering he played out of the shotgun in quarterback — and was off target early.
But a little rust is expected for the Heisman Trophy winner. He basically went from the airport to the practice field, as concern over his mother’s well-being caused him to change his travel plans.
“Mom's not doing too great,” Mayfield said of mother Gina, without specifying her exact issue. “Family first, always. It doesn't matter what the situation is. I would never put myself before my mom.”
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But now that he is in town, Mayfield is all about football — and proving that his renegade reputation is wrong.
“Everybody wants to portray the bad boy, the Johnny Manziel stuff,” Mayfield said. “But I love the game of football. There's no doubt about that. Emotional player. I'll do everything it takes to win. I love being around my teammates and I love leading and having responsibility.”
Still, Mayfield’s at-times over the top behavior — plus a February 2017 arrest on charges of public intoxication, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and fleeing — have many here questioning his maturity.
And it might be enough to scare off the Browns, owners of the first overall pick. They drafted an out-of-control Manziel, and that decision backfired spectacularly.
Those concerns could be enough for Mayfield, to slip out of the top 10 — and force the Dolphins to make a tough decision with the 11th overall pick.
Mayfield said “I'd be all right there,” when asked specifically about ending up in South Florida, but insisted that his #GetMeToMiami comment on Kenny Stills’ Instagram video last week was no big deal.
“Everybody blew that one out of proportion,” Mayfield said. “Talking to a former guy, Kenny Stills. Always joked around with him, all of those guys that came back. OU does a great job of bringing their players back, welcoming them with open arms. He's a good friend of mine. I was just talking to him.”
Still, he had a rapt Dolphins audience. They flew in all of their heavy-hitters to watch Tuesday’s practice. Adam Gase, Mike Tannenbaum, Chris Grier and Dan Marino were all in the building as Mayfield took the field.
Mayfield’s assessment of his performance?
“Good first day. Good to put the pads back on, sling the ball around. Training is what it is. Working hard to test well, but this is what I was meant to do, throw a ball and be out here, be around the guys and lead. So it's a good first day. Look to get better tomorrow and move forward throughout the week.”