Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said Wednesday that University of Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley is capable of coaching at the NFL level but confirmed he hasn't tried to convince his former college coach to join the Browns.
Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com provided comments from Mayfield, who played three years under Riley with the Sooners.
"Lincoln's been ready; it's just who he is and how he coaches and the respect level he's had from all of his players, how detailed he is," he said. "Yeah, he's ready but that's his decision, and you know what, he's got something special there, so I don't think anybody is going to blame him if he stays there for the next 20 years."
Riley took over the OU program in 2017 after spending the previous two seasons as the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
The 35-year-old Texas native was immediately speculated as a potential replacement for Hue Jackson when the Browns fired their head coach in late October.
Riley quickly downplayed talk about the potential switch to the NFL while leading the Sooners to an eventual appearance in the upcoming College Football Playoff.
"No, not right now," he told reporters Oct. 29. "You sit here and answer these questions, and I always want to be truthful. The truth for me is I love Oklahoma. I love coaching here. I love college football. I certainly don't have that itch right now. I don't know that I ever will."
Mayfield enjoyed ample success during his time working with Riley, highlighted by winning the 2017 Heisman Trophy as college football's top player.
The first overall pick in the 2018 draft isn't going to use that relationship to inject himself into the Browns' search for a new coach, per Cabot.
"No, like I said, it's not my decision, so not worried about it," he said. "We're happy with what we've got right now, and we're working week by week."
Gregg Williams has guided the Browns to a 2-2 record as the team's interim head coach. The front office hasn't provided a timetable for hiring a full-time coach.
It wouldn't be a surprise if the Riley rumors resurface if the search extends into the offseason.