The promising Cleveland career of former Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield imploded in Week Two of the 2021 season, when Mayfield injured his non-throwing shoulder while making a tackle after throwing an interception.
For some reason, then-rookie receiver Anthony Schwartz shouldered the blame for the shoulder injury. Schwartz recently addressed the situation in comments to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“It mainly bothered me because I kind of felt like people were trying to blame me for something when we both did something wrong on that play,” Schwartz told Cabot last month, for an item that was posted on Monday. “I didn’t finish the play and I don’t think he made the right read, but we were both wrong and unfortunately it ended up like that.”
“You don’t ever think [Reid’s] going to run all the way down and all of a sudden, he hits our quarterback in the shoulder and he tears his labrum,’’ Schwartz told Cabot. “A lot of things have to happen for that to happen, and it’s unfortunate. That’s one of the plays from last year that I wish I could take back. But at end of the day I don’t think it’s right for me to take all that blame. But as a rookie I couldn’t say anything. I just had to keep my head down and keep working and keep moving past it. . . .
“At the time, I felt I deserved it. I should have ran through the route and even if I don’t catch the ball, I probably can still break it up. But maybe the defense got Baker right there. Maybe he made the wrong read. There’s a lot of things that go into that play and you can’t just say, ‘Oh, he stopped on his route, it’s your fault.’”
It’s ultimately Mayfield’s fault for allowing his obvious frustration from throwing the interception to cause him to try to make the tackle. Quarterbacks always should stay away from the fray. Always. It’s not worth risking an injury. Let it be 11 on 10. Live to play another day.
Schwartz’s comments, at a deeper level, speak to the culture of the team with Mayfield at quarterback. Baker easily could have spoken up for Schwartz, accepting the blame for the throw and the tackle and the injury.
Cabot makes a couple of references in her article to the “Baker Bros,” fans of Mayfield who loudly believe he can do no wrong. That’s all the more reason for Mayfield to have provided some cover for Schwartz. And it perhaps help explain the conspicuous silence from other Browns players once it seemed clear that the Browns were looking to move on from Mayfield.