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Baker Mayfield to Reporter on Browns Matchup: 'I'm Gonna F**k Them Up'

Photo: Jared C Tilton

Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield reportedly told a sideline reporter that he was "going to f*** them up" when asked about his upcoming matchup against his former team, the Cleveland Browns, in Week 1 of the upcoming NFL season.

NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund, who also works as a sideline reporter for the Buffalo Bills, said she had a postgame conversation with Mayfield following the Bills-Panthers preseason game at Bank of America Stadium last Friday during an appearance on the Around the NFL podcast shared Monday night.

“I walked up to him and said, ‘I’m so excited to see you, like, go kick some butt,’ I didn’t say that word,” Frelund said“... Go kick some butt, especially Week 1, I like cannot wait. And he uses some expletives and I was like, ‘I just hope you’re like ready.’ He was like, ‘I’m gonna bleep them up.'"

Host Dan Hanzus then asked, "I’m gonna f*** them up, is that what the quote was?’”

“I don’t say curse words on air. I do not want to get in trouble,” Frelund replied, but confirmed it was, indeed, a direct quote at the time.

Frelund later addressed the quote on Tuesday, which she said was overblown.

"I shouldn't have shared a private conversation, although I stand by the fact that I'm pro-Baker. I hope he succeeds. I hope he has a great career in Carolina," Frelund said while appearing on the Ultimate Cleveland Sports Show.

"In fairness, like, as a woman, especially in the media, I would like for him to beat his old team for a lot of reasons, but not the least of which is it feels like a poetic story," she added. "You see a lot of athletes face their former teams and they're like, 'go show them that they were wrong.' Get out there and be positive."

Fredlund also claimed that she initially told Mayfield to "go f*** them up" herself, but intended for it as a broader meaning for the 2022 NFL season.

On August 22, Mayfield was initially announced as the Panthers' starting quarterback for their Week 1 matchup against the Browns on September 11.

"When we started this process, we were looking at three things," said head coach Matt Rhule in a news release shared on the team's official website. "Number one, mastery of the offense, number two, situational football excellence, and number three, moving the ball and getting guys involved. That's been our focus all along.

"Baker has made a lot of improvement, a lot of growth in all three areas in a short amount of time."

Mayfield -- the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft -- was competing with Sam Darnold -- the No. 3 overall pick in the same draft class -- for the starting job since being acquired by the Panthers in a trade with the Browns in July.

Mayfield has a 29-30 QB record as a starter, which includes a 6-8 record in 2021 during three seasons in Cleveland.

The former Heisman Trophy winner threw for a career-low 3,010 yards and 17 touchdowns, as well as 13 interceptions last season.

Cleveland was initially reported to be out of consideration for Watson and denied Mayfield's request publicly before eventually reaching an agreement with Houston to acquire Watson days later.

Watson is currently facing an 11-game suspension violating the NFL's personal conduct policy following accusations of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct in civil lawsuits filed by 25 women all of which are reported to have taken place during massage sessions in the Houston area between March 2020 and March 2021 during his tenure with the Texans.

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