Freddie Kitchens Defends Baker Mayfield's Hue Jackson Comments

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2018

FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) meets with Cincinnati Bengals special assistant Hue Jackson, right, after an NFL football game in Cincinnati. Mayfield said he doesn’t regret calling former Browns coach Hue Jackson
Frank Victores/Associated Press

Cleveland Browns rookie Baker Mayfield has recently become the center of attention for his comments on former coach Hue Jackson, but Cleveland offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens has no problem with his quarterback's honesty.

"I don't have a problem with Baker saying anything like that," Kitchens told reporters Thursday. "I don't know when it became big news to speak the truth."

Mayfield turned heads when he showed little interest in a postgame handshake with Jackson following Sunday's 35-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Jackson was fired in October after going 3-36-1 in two-and-a-half seasons in Cleveland. He landed in Cincinnati two weeks later as a special assistant to head coach Marvin Lewis.

After the less-than-heartwarming handshake, Mayfield explained his reasoning in his postgame press conference: "I didn't feel like talking. ... [Jackson] left Cleveland, goes down to Cincinnati, I don't know. It's just somebody that was in our locker room, asking for us to play for him and then goes to a different team we play twice a year. Everybody can have their spin on it, but that's how I feel."

That wasn't the end of the drama. As some—like ESPN's Damien Woody—called Mayfield a hypocrite for criticizing Jackson's move to a rival, the No. 1 overall pick responded with more strong words:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Baker calls Hue Jackson fake; says transferring from Texas Tech to OU is “not even comparable” https://t.co/9xM1SMckDJ

"I didn't lose 30-plus games be fake and then do that," Mayfield commented on an Instagram post by ESPN's First Take. "I wasn't gonna have a scholarship. Good try though buddy."

Mayfield's scholarship comment is in reference to Woody and others who likened Jackson's move to the Bengals to Mayfield's transfer from Texas Tech to Big 12 rival Oklahoma.

Mayfield did not back down from his criticism of Jackson. He told reporters Wednesday that he isn't a typical "cookie-cutter quarterback":

Mary Kay Cabot @MaryKayCabot

#Browns Baker Mayfield doesn’t regret anything he said about Hue Jackson after the game or even calling him “fake” https://t.co/u9TDFpK1Ir

Mayfield and the Browns are scheduled to face Jackson one more time this season. After last week's game and postgame scenes, the Week 16 clash between Cleveland and Cincinnati figures to have no shortage of drama.