Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield sounds ready for a Week 1 showdown with his former team, the Cleveland Browns.
Cynthia Frelund of the NFL Network, who works as a sideline reporter for the Buffalo Bills during the preseason, discussed an exchange with Mayfield ahead of Friday's exhibition game on Monday's Around the NFL podcast (via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com).
"I was like, '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. ... He's like, 'I'm gonna [f--k] them up.'"
Mayfield was traded to the Panthers in July after the Browns rebuilt their quarterback room with the acquisitions of Deshaun Watson, Jacoby Brissett and Joshua Dobbs. He proceeded to beat out Sam Darnold for Carolina's starting QB job.
The 27-year-old Texas native has been known for his fiery competitive nature dating back to his college days at the University of Oklahoma, and he said that fire still burns after the trade.
"The passion's going to come out regardless, on the field, just because we're competing," Mayfield told reporters. "I love playing this game of football. I truly enjoy it, so that side of me is always going to come out."
So it's not much of a surprise he's amped up for a chance to face the Browns right away.
The key question is which version of Mayfield are the Panthers getting to lead their offense after his up-and-down four-year tenure in Cleveland?
It looked like he'd turned a corner in 2020, when he compiled 26 touchdowns and just eight interceptions across 16 games while leading the Browns to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth.
He took a step back last year while playing through a shoulder injury, however, finishing with a lackluster 17-to-13 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 14 appearances.
A bounce-back year from Mayfield would give the Panthers offense a lot of upside thanks to a playmaking group led by running back Christian McCaffrey and wide receivers DJ Moore, Robbie Anderson and Terrace Marshall Jr.
He'll get an immediate chance to make a statement against the Browns in a game that'll likely feature no shortage of trash talk from either side.
The only thing that could have made the matchup more intriguing would be if it took place in Cleveland. Instead, the Panthers will host the Sept. 11 meeting at Bank of America Stadium.