Baker Mayfield says Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley ready for NFL

Mayfield avoids campaigning for Riley to be next Browns head coach

Daryl Ruiter
December 05, 2018 - 2:34 pm

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Oklahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley is ready for the NFL.

At least that’s according to Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, who played under Riley for three years – two with Riley serving as his offensive coordinator and position coach and one as the head coach.

“Lincoln’s been ready, it’s just who he is and how he coaches and the respect level he’s had from all of his players, how detailed he is,” Mayfield said. “Yeah, he’s ready but that’s his decision and you know what, he’s got something special there so I don’t think anybody is going to blame him if he stays there for the next 20 years.”

Mayfield avoided making any declarative statements concerning Riley’s future as he was peppered Wednesday with questions about it.

“I’m not going to speak for him, but he’s ready whenever that time comes,” Mayfield said.

With Oklahoma back in the college football playoffs and head coaching jobs open in Cleveland, Green Bay and soon to be four or five more NFL cities, questions about Riley’s future coaching prospects are at the forefront of conversation.

From Mayfield’s perspective Riley has what it takes to fit in and succeed at the NFL level. 

“To me, after being here, it’s about respect,” Mayfield said. “You get a locker room full of guys that are making a lot of money, obviously the egos are going to be there. You have to have the respect in guys. You have to be able to get the best out of them even when they’re going to get paid regardless. So you’ve got to be able to get the most out of them and demand it, just by respect and so when it comes down to it, that’s why I would say he’s a great coach.”

Under Riley, the Sooners put back-to-back 12-win seasons together as well as won the Big 12 championship in 2017 and 2018. Mayfield, who won the Heisman Trophy last year, credits the success to how well-rounded Riley is as a coach, and person.

“Some of those coaches that are so successful, they have the standard and they live by that standard every day,” Mayfield said. “He does it with football, family and he’s just a great human being. He wants the best for everybody and he’s always encouraging. He will wrap his arm around somebody, talk to them and help them out no matter what it is.”

While he had plenty of praise for Riley, Mayfield avoided campaigning for Riley to be hired by the Browns as Hue Jackson’s permanent replacement.

“Obviously, you guys can take it how you want, I have a relationship with Lincoln. He’s been great and we had success, but whatever decision is made here I’m going to make the most of it,” Mayfield said. “Obviously, there’s been a level of comfortability with him in the past that I’ve had, but whatever happens happens. And you know what, you can’t control that so I’m not going to worry about it.”

Mayfield doesn’t plan to sell Riley on the job either.

“No, like I said, it’s not my decision so not worried about it,” Mayfield said. “We’re happy with what we’ve got right now and we’re working week by week.”