Baker Mayfield is going to be an NFL great and does not care about pundits’ criticism, according to Cleveland Browns team-mate Jamie Gillan.
Quarterback Mayfield was selected with the first overall pick by the Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft and went 6-7 as a starter for Cleveland in his rookie season.
However, Mayfield is a man who splits opinion due to his outspoken nature, which included taking a dig at ex-team-mate Duke Johnson for requesting a trade.
Mayfield has also taken aim at Giants fans following the trade of Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns, while he said “it blows my mind” when the New York franchise picked Duke QB Daniel Jones with the sixth pick in April’s draft.
Two-time Super Bowl winner Osi Umenyiora, who played for the Giants and the Atlanta Falcons during his career and is now a prominent pundit, this week said when previewing the season with BBC Sport: “I cannot stand this young man.
“I tried to give him a chance because I liked him coming out of college but I mean this guy just keeps spouting off at the mouth man, you are a quarterback, you are an endangered species man because you’re so protected.
“You shouldn’t be talking like that, if I was still playing this is the kind of guy we would sack, remove his helmet, take the football and shove it directly down his throat.”
But Scotsman Gillan, picked up as a free agent by the Browns and retained on their roster for this season, defended Mayfield and said any athlete gives little credence to what is said about them.
“I don’t know who that is or why he said that, a lot of people have opinions on people,” Gillan said.
“He’s a fantastic guy and he’s that good for a reason because he believes in himself and that he is number one.
“Who cares what that guy says and what other people say? That’s just his opinion. You can’t listen to that sort of stuff and he won’t, that’s why he’s going to be great.
“We don’t care what people say on the TV etc. We’re going out to do our jobs and win games and if that’s his opinion, whatever! Baker is an awesome guy who’s going to do great this season.”
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 3, 2019
Gillan moved to America at the age of 16 and the rugby-mad Scotsman took up American football as a punter in high school to hone his kicking skills.
Six years later and he was retained by the Browns at the expense of Super Bowl winner Britton Colquitt.
Now sharing a locker room with the likes of Mayfield, Beckham and Jarvis Landry, Gillan says his new team-mates have been great to work with.
“They’ve been fantastic. I get a bit of a rookie banter, people just having a little laugh you know but at the end of the day everybody has been supportive and fantastic,” he added.
“They know how cut-throat the business is and I feel like in this business you need to show that you’re a team player. Everybody can see the people who are there for themselves or those who want to be a team player.
“If you keep working really hard and tell them that you want to be on this team and want to be great, people will respond well.
“That’s just how I’ve always been. I’m always going be a team player. I’m always going to want to win with the team. I did not like losing at all when I was young. So that’s how I am, and I’ve been getting along with everybody and I always will.”
Watch Jamie Gillan in action as the Cleveland Browns host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday 8th September on Sky Sports Action at 17:00 and Sky Sports Main Event at 18:00. You can also catch-up on the action on Tuesday with the NFL This Week highlights show available on BBC Two and iPlayer.