Baker Mayfield Welcomes the Challenge Of Having To Fight For His Place With The Panthers

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Marleny Hucks
Marleny Hucks
Marlene (or Marleny as she is known in Spanish) is a mentor, teacher, cross-cultural trainer, storyteller, writer, and for those who have been under her leadership or simply sat across the table from her, she is a mirror of destiny. Her love of word and image were formed early on by one of her heroes, Dr. Seuss. If you asked those who know her well, they would describe her a compassionate, funny, wise, curious, honest, real, strong, sensitive and totally human which comes out as she teaches and writes. She sees all of life, even the most mundane, through faith and believes that who we become as we live this side of the veil is what matters not the journey itself or our circumstances. Marleny Hucks has spent her life crossing bridges. She comes from a diverse background of ministry roles and contexts as well as has transitioned in and out of the business world. Having lived outside the country as well as traveled extensively she has a fascination with culture causes her to live her life within a global mosaic no matter where her feet are planted. Marlene currently lives in South Carolina with her husband David, who owns a news company but who she says is a “crime fighter”, bringing light into darkness in their systems of their city. Marleny currently works as a content management specialist covering Myrtle Beach News for MyrtleBeachSC News.

The Baker Mayfield saga is finally over, with the quarterback having joined the Carolina Panthers. Mayfield is well aware of the fact that the starting job won’t simply be handed to him. And if he does get it, he can’t expect a bed of roses then either.

The paperwork required to complete the deal was handed to the NFL on Monday, making his move official. The 27-year-old can now go about the process of meeting his new teammates, finding somewhere new to live and fighting for that starting job.

As fate would have it, the Panthers will be facing his old Cleveland Browns team for their season opener on September 11.

“I’m not going to sit here and be a robot and tell you that’s not one I’ve marked on the calendar already,” he said, per the team’s official website. “One, that’s not who I am. To me, it’s about winning games. Whoever we have marked on the schedule, I’m going to try to win. Obviously, this one has a little more history and personal meaning, but for me, it’s about winning and setting the tone for the rest of the year, and however I can help this team do that, I’m going to do.”

“I try not to,” he said with a smile when asked if he’s the sort of person who holds grudges.

Baker might not have been drawn into making this a him vs. Cleveland situation but fans certainly are and the North Carolina sports betting scene surely would have been active ahead of this game if sportsbooks had already launched there. Fans can expect bookmakers such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars to become available as of next year.

Where the new Panthers QB is concerned, he knows this is more than just one game and is really a chance to resurrect his career after what happened with the Browns. He will be going into a contract year so this needs to work out. 

In any case, Mayfield claims to be thankful for the four years he spent in Cleveland.

“There was a little bit of sacrifice on all three fronts, between Cleveland, Carolina, and myself,” he added. “To me, it’s ready for a fresh start first and foremost. I’m extremely grateful for the four years I had in Cleveland, it’s a great football town. It’s the start of my career, however long, God willing, it will be. I’m thankful for it.

“A lot of ups and downs, a lot of things I learned, but when it came down to it, it was wanting a fresh start, wanting to be with a coach and a GM that truly wanted me, . . . and just wanting the same thing, and that’s to win football games.”

Mayfield should have gotten his playbook on Tuesday and had conversations with head coach Matt Rhule and GM Scott Fitterer prior to the deal becoming official. With camp beginning in two weeks, time is of the essence.

He’s also going to get together with a few of the players in Charlotte before reporting to Wofford on July 26. Mayfield is already building a rapport with quarterback Sam Darnold, who he reveals reached out to him after the move was agreed and started making plans for informal workouts. 

Both QBs were drafted in 2018, with Mayfield going first and Darnold going third. So there might be a level of awkwardness.

“I think any of that has already been squashed,” Mayfield offered.

“Sam reached out, got my number first,” Mayfield said. “We’ve been talking about how to get the guys together the last minute before camp. It’s been great. Sam just wants to win. That’s just who he is. Our personalities might be different, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the same goal, and that’s to win and help this team out.

“I’m really looking forward to being in that room with him and just challenging each other, and elevating each other.”

As for having to fight for a job, Mayfield claims it’s nothing new to him as he’s been a walk-on twice before.

“For me, it’s pretty familiar,” he remarked. “Obviously, the NFL is different than college, but walking on twice, and having to go through that process, you level the playing field. You compete against other guys, and you build confidence in yourself. It’s very similar to when I left Texas Tech to go to Oklahoma. They had one of my best friends, Trevor Knight, who had just won the Sugar Bowl, was the MVP, he was going to be a sophomore. I decided to transfer there, knowing there was going to be competition, and it wasn’t going to be easy.

“It’s about betting on yourself and believing in that, and giving it your all. And just trying to be a good teammate and help everybody win.”

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