Chad Pennington once fell into the trap of becoming a celebrity quarterback. He wants to make sure Baker Mayfield doesn’t make the same mistake.
The Cleveland Browns have a lot of draft capital invested in Baker Mayfield. It only makes sense that they’d want to give him as much mentorship as possible. Fortunately for the organization, the NFL has stepped up and helped Mayfield forge a relationship with former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington.
The question now becomes whether Mayfield can listen to what Pennington has to stay. The former New York first rounder has gone out of his way to alert Mayfield about the pitfalls waiting for him in the NFL. Chief among those pitfalls is the possibility of becoming more concerned with being a brand than being a hard-working professional.
Specifically, Pennington is cautioning Mayfield to remember how he made it this far. He wants the former Oklahoma star to keep preparing for games like he did when he was a walk-on. That sort of humility would go a long way towards making Mayfield a successful NFL quarterback.
Unfortunately, Mayfield hasn’t shown a real proclivity to display any humility during his career. We’re talking about a quarterback who allowed a film crew to document his pre-draft process with a nine-episode series called “Next Level” Behind Baker.” That doesn’t exactly seem like the move a player trying to avoid off-field distractions would make.
Browns fans will have to hope Mayfield listens to Pennington more in the future. As the No. 1 pick in the draft, he’s going to be under intense scrutiny. The fact that he’s trying to reverse years of poor quarterback play in Cleveland will only add to the pressure.
In the end, the Browns, the NFL and Pennington can give Mayfield advice till they’re blue in the face, but it’s still going to be up to him to take it to heart. If he does, he stands a solid chance of breaking the team’s run of poor quarterback play. If he worries more about building his brand than his ability to read NFL defenses, he may flame out like many Browns quarterbacks before him.