Throughout the pre-draft process, there were a lot of lingering questions about Baker Mayfield’s character.
Mayfield had his fair share of incidents — on the field and off of it — during his time at Oklahoma. But one of Oklahoma’s biggest fans, legendary WWE broadcaster Jim Ross, has nothing but positive things to say about Mayfield, who was chosen No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Browns.
In a recent episode of his podcast, The Jim Ross Report, Ross detailed a different side of Mayfield that is a stark contrast to his fiery on-field demeanor. Following the death of his wife in 2017, Ross was touched by a simple gesture from Mayfield.
“When my wife got killed last year, during the summer when coach (Lincoln) Riley got named the head coach at OU, ESPN called me to come to the stadium and do an interview. While I was there waiting my turn to record the interview about coach Riley’s ascension and coach (Bob) Stoops retiring, Baker was there. He came up to me and he had tears in his eyes. I thought something was wrong, something occurred to him. He saw to me and he got tears in his eyes because he knew what I was going through with losing my wife. He gave me a big hug. He said, ‘JR, I just want you to know I love you and I’ll always have your back.’
“Even today when I think about it, my eyes get teary. Fast forward to the fall. I was at every OU game. I always stood down by the end zone and watched the guys warm up early, early. Baker puts on an Odell Beckham Jr. display catching the ball, it’s amazing. Every game, he came over to me and gave me a big hug. He’d say, ‘JR, I love you. Remember, I’ll always have your back.’ … If I had a son, I’d want him to be like Baker Mayfield. I swear to God.”
Mayfield threw for 14,607 yards and 131 touchdowns in his college career — three years at Oklahoma and one at Texas Tech. As a senior, Mayfield threw for 4,627 yards and 43 touchdowns while completing 70.5 percent of his passes en route to a Heisman Trophy.
Cleveland kept its plans for the top pick quiet in the lead up to last month’s draft. The choice of Mayfield, who is listed at 6-foot-1, was a surprise to some. But folks who watched him closely in college, like Ross, know the kind of competitor the Browns have brought in. And once Mayfield gets off the field and in the Cleveland community, stories like the one shared by Ross show Mayfield has the capacity to be a positive influence.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Tom Brady turns heads at Met Gala with unorthodox tuxedo
• Terez Paylor: The ripple effects of Matt Ryan’s $150M deal
• Ex-Duke star’s mom: NCAA model is like ‘slavery’
• Report: NASCAR owners exploring selling whole sport