But after his and his team’s most impressive performance of the season — a 41-16 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals, only days after OBJ essentially forced his way out of Cleveland — the Browns quarterback said his focus will be about his current teammates going forward.
“I wish him well, I really do. My feelings haven’t changed,” Mayfield said, two days after the team announced it would release Beckham. “From a personal standpoint, he’s a good friend of mine. … But I’m worried about the guys in our locker room. I’m proud of these guys, how they were able to focus up despite all the bulls— that was going on this week and how they were able to do their job. We’re going to see if we can build on it and continue to get better.”
The breakup became inevitable this past week when, hours before Tuesday’s trade deadline, Beckham’s father shared a video on social media showing times when Mayfield didn’t throw him the ball. Beckham Sr. also trashed Mayfield in the comments. On Wednesday, the Browns excused Beckham from practice while the sides negotiated his exit, which was finalized Friday — Beckham’s 29th birthday.
A puzzling trend dating back to last year, after Beckham Jr. suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 7, Mayfield continued to play his best with Beckham not on the field.
Sunday, Mayfield completed 14 of 21 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns without an interception.
In the third quarter, he still held a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3, shortly before the Browns jumped to a 31-10 lead on a Nick Chubb 70-yard touchdown run.
The Browns barraged the Bengals with a series of big plays throughout the game, including cornerback Denzel Ward’s 99-yard pick-six and Mayfield’s 60-yard touchdown bomb to Donovan Peoples-Jones, making Cleveland the first team since 1967 to produce a passing touchdown, rushing touchdown and defensive touchdown of 60-plus yards all in the same game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“We needed that win. Our whole locker room needed it. And they knew that. Played for each other,” Mayfield said. “I trust the guys in this locker room. When adversity hit, nobody flinched. It was a long week. I’d be lying if I said otherwise. But proud of these guys.”
Beckham will go on waivers Monday. If he’s not claimed, he can sign with a new team of his choice.
“We still haven’t talked,” Mayfield said of Beckham. “But that doesn’t change things. I wish him well. I wish him the best in his career.”