One of the most anticipated Week 1 matchups in the NFL will be Baker Mayfield and the Carolina Panthers facing the quarterback's former team, the Cleveland Browns.
And Mayfield's former teammate, Browns running back Nick Chubb, hinted that the reunion could be plenty intriguing.
"We all know Baker, so I don't know what to expect," he told reporters Wednesday.
Not surprisingly, Mayfield's departure from the Browns this offseason has been the talking point ahead of Sunday's game, especially after a report emerged that the veteran quarterback told Buffalo Bills sideline reporter and the NFL Network's Cynthia Frelund that he was going to "f--k them up" when talking about the matchup.
Mayfield denied making those comments.
"Well first, I didn't say it," he told reporters last week. "Obviously, everybody's going to write whatever story they want. There's history that I played there over the last four years. I'm an extremely competitive person. Everybody knows that. If I wasn't wanting to win, there would be a really big issue with me being the quarterback here, so I want to win in everything I do. That'll never change. Now, that's not how I phrased it. That's not even what I said, so let's leave it at that."
But as you might expect, the Browns have been asked plenty of questions about facing their former teammate.
"We had a couple months to kind of get rid of those feelings, stuff like that," safety John Johnson III told reporters of the initial hard feelings some of the Browns harbored toward Mayfield after he asked to be traded. "We've been out here, we had OTAs without him and stuff like that. So I think now, we're at a point where we're locked in, we're laser focused on beating Carolina."
"We still love Baker," linebacker Jacob Phillips added. "Obviously, he was a past teammate of ours. Basically every teammate we have—you know, it's a business. People are here one year, a team's never the same. So obviously with him going there it's going to be cool that we have kind of an understanding of how he plays obviously competing against him every day on the practice fields, so I think it's going to be a regular game for us."
Mayfield publicly requested a trade in March, right around the time the Browns were in the running to acquire Deshaun Watson. They eventually landed the former Houston Texans quarterback and granted Mayfield his trade request in early July, sending him to the Carolina Panthers for a conditional fourth- or fifth-round pick in 2024.
It's only fitting that the two teams would meet in Week 1 in Carolina. To paraphrase Chubb, expect the unexpected.