TAMPA, Fla. — Baker Mayfield's name has probably been mentioned more in the Tampa Bay area than ever since the team reached an agreement to sign the 2018 No. 1 draft pick.
The quarterback spoke to media outlets Monday in Tampa for the first time since his arrival in Buccaneers territory. Right off the top, Mayfield cleared the air on who he is — Baker Mayfield — and who he is not, Tom Brady.
"Listen, I’m never going to be Tom Brady," he said. "There’s a reason he has won so many Super Bowls – he’s the greatest of all time, there’s no doubt about that. I’m not going to try and be Tom, I’m going to be me – that’s what’s gotten me to this point. We’re going to do it differently but that’s what makes this league so special – everybody puts their own touch on it. It’s an honor to follow up somebody like that."
Tampa Bay makes this Mayfield's fourth stop in his NFL career. With this fresh start and a chance to compete for the starting position with the only other signed quarterback, Kyle Trask, Mayfield seems to be looking forward to getting to know his new home.
"I’ll be here enjoying the process of getting to know everybody," he said. "To me, that’s what makes football the best team sport on earth. It’s so much more than the X’s and O’s on the field – you have to trust your guys, you have to know them in and out, know what their family situations are like, get to know why they’re wired a certain way."
And as far as Trask and Mayfield battling it out for that No. 1 spot, Mayfield welcomes the competition.
"I think Kyle and I are going to push each other no matter what happens and I think we’re going to make the most of it," he said.
Mayfield also spoke to what attracted him to the Buccaneers — the winning mentality Brady left before he retired. He said he wanted to go somewhere where the team could win right away and he found that in Tampa Bay.
Spending four seasons with the Cleveland Browns, his most impressive season came in 2020 when he led the Browns to their playoff appearance. Bucs General Manager Jason Licht said Mayfield also did some good things during his brief stint with the Rams at the end of last season. His arrival in Tampa Bay was met with mixed reactions, however, he's ready for what's to come in the upcoming season.
"I've grown a lot – I appreciate all the things that have happened through my journey and it's helped me get here today," Mayfield said.
On a lighter note, outlets Monday hoped to get one of his most notable reactions when they asked how he was feeling when he woke up this morning, referencing his famous, "feeling dangerous."
"It’s only March 20th – I’m just feeling normal right now," Mayfield said. "Just excited."
Until camp and the 2023 season thereafter, Buccaneers fans will just have to wait and see what's to come for Mayfield, Trask and the organization. One thing's for sure for Mayfield, he's putting in more than 100% effort wherever he fits.
"Be the best version of myself possible. Whatever role that is – starting or backup – then I’m going to at it 110% and help us win the division and get to the playoffs."