By Michael Kinney
NORMAN — When Baker Mayfield walked to midcourt during a timeout at the Oklahoma-Texas basketball game Saturday, it was supposed to just simple welcome home from the fans. Mayfield hadn’t been in front of the OU fan base since the Sooners lost to Georgia Jan. 1 in the Rose Bowl.
“It’s been a crazy journey, hasn’t stopped,” Mayfield said. “This is the first time I’ve been back to Norman, actually. Since the Senior Bowl I’ve been training hard, getting ready for the (NFL) combine, setting up my schedule for interviews and whatnot, going forward after Pro Day. It’s a long process, a waiting game. You guys know me, I’d rather play ball. So I’m excited to get through this process and get back to it.”
Carrying his Heisman trophy, Mayfield did all the things expected of him. Took photos with coach Lincoln Riley, watched the highlight video and thanked the fans.
Then Mayfield showed what exactly has made him one of the most popular Oklahoma athletes to ever come through Norman. He handed off the Heisman and started waving his arms to get the crowd pumped. He then headed straight toward the Texas bench while putting up the upside down Longhorn hand sign in full view of the players and coaches.
That one gesture encapsulated exactly who Mayfield has been for the past three years since transferring to Oklahoma from Texas Tech. He loves the Sooner unabashedly and hates the Longhorns in the same manner and doesn’t care who knows it.
“I was born and raised in Austin, they didn’t recruit me,” Mayfield said of UT. “I grew up 15 miles from the campus. I can’t stand them, or anything they do. I don’t care.”
Mayfield is a state of Texas native. Went to school at Lake Travis High, but didn’t get an offer from any school in Texas. While OU also didn’t offer Mayfield a scholarship at the time, it was the Longhorns who he held the grudge against.
Mayfield was asked during a press conference he held at halftime of the OU-Texas game. The Austin based reporter asked him why does he like to “give Texas the business.”
Mayfield looked at him like he just asked the most obvious question in the world before giving his response.
What makes Mayfield one of the most interesting quarterbacks to have come on the scene in a long time is his refusal to be someone he is not. That apparently has been a topic of conversation around the league.
“I talked to the NFL guys that say I need to calm down a little bit,” Mayfield said. “But when it comes to Texas, absolutely not. I can’t stand them.”
While Texas will always be his main antagonist, Mayfield is all set to join the ranks of the NFL and find some new foes.
However, Mayfield has had to not only answer questions about his ability on the field, but also perceived attitude issues. But Mayfield said he went into the interviews at the Senior Bowl with the conscious effort to not be someone he isn’t.
“I learned that’s the best way to be,” Mayfield said. “Those guys had a lot of questions about my character, everything like that. So when I sat down and had conversations with guys that make decisions on putting millions of dollars — they’re in control of those franchises. They have to invest in young guys and they don’t know exactly what they’re going to get. So being honest and up front with those people was the best thing for me. That’s what I learned so I’m going to keep doing that.”
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com