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‘I don’t play against the other quarterback’

Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield will probably be asked questions about the Cleveland Browns, his former team, for at least a year or two. So it was no surprise on Monday when he was asked a question connected to the suspension of Browns QB Deshaun Watson.

Watson was suspended six games on Monday for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy after over 20 women accused him of sexual misconduct and assault while they were giving him sports massages. Judge Sue Robinson issued the ruling in a 16-page decision, which has yet to be released in full to the public.

The Browns and Panthers are scheduled to face off in Week 1. With Watson suspended for at least six games (the NFL has three days to decide if it wants to appeal), backup QB Jacoby Brissett will likely start that game for the Browns.

During his media availability on Monday afternoon, Mayfield was asked to share his thoughts on facing his former team with Brissett starting instead of Watson.

“Honestly, it’s none of my business,” Mayfield said. “I don’t play against the other quarterback. I know that’s the most cliched thing to say, but that’s just the truth. When it comes down to it, I’m game planning against their defense, and if I’m playing or not I’m trying to help this team win. That’s my mindset going into it, so I’ve gotta keep getting better. But I’m not focused about Week 1 right now… we’ll handle that when it comes, but for now it’s about getting the Panthers better, and our offense continuing to get better as well.”

As Mayfield said, it’s cliche to say he doesn’t play the other team’s offense, but it’s the truth. The opposing quarterback doesn’t matter much to the starting QB, so his answer to that question would probably be the same regardless of who is scheduled to start Week 1 for the Browns. Mayfield plays the opposing team’s defense, so he and the opposing QB don’t share the field for even a single snap. Right now, Mayfield is focused on winning the quarterback competition so he can be the starter no matter who the Panthers will be facing.

July 30, 2022;  Spartanburg, South Carolina, US;  Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) walks on to the field during training camp at Wofford College.  Mandatory Credit: Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers QB Baker Mayfield said it doesn’t matter to him who starts for the Browns, his former team, in Week 1. It will almost certainly be Jacoby Brissett, since new Browns QB Deshaun Watson has been suspended six games. (Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports)