Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield admitted to staring down ex-coach Hue Jackson on the sideline after Mayfield's team earned a 26–18 win over the Bengals on Sunday.
Mayfield, who threw his 24th touchdown of the season in the win, told reporters on Wednesday he didn't care if people didn't like his staredown, emphasizing that different leaders play off of emotion in different ways. Mayfield's explanation comes after the first-year quarterback previously denied staring his former coach down.
"I don't get why people have a problem with football being a competitive sport," Mayfield said. "You're supposed to play with emotion, you're supposed to play with passion. Quite honestly, if you don't like it, whatever. Football's not meant to be a soft game. I could care less."
"I'm not trying to be anybody else. I've been who I am. That's gotten me here. And I'm going to continue to do that because I try and improve every week and I have that same mindset."
Mayfield finished Sunday's game 27-of-37 for 284 yards and three touchdowns. Jackson, whom Mayfield found on the sideline during the game's final seconds,was fired by the Browns on Oct. 29 after a 2–5–1 record to start the season. Jackson was then hired by the Bengals on Nov. 12 to serve as the special assistant to the head coach.
Jackson's decision to start quarterback Tyrod Taylor over No. 1 pick Mayfield was widely criticized, especially after Mayfield took over for an injured Taylor to lead the Browns to their first win in nearly two full calendar years.
"I don't have to make any friends outside of this locker room," Mayfield said. "I'm not trying to do that. Once they're in here, they know exactly what they're gonna get. And that's what really matters."
The Browns finish the season on the road against the Baltimore Ravens. Cleveland is trying to finish the year with six wins in the final seven games, which would put them over .500 on the season for the first time since 2007.