The Trade Of Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield And That Grief Cycle

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield celebrates after running back Kareem Hunt scored a touchdown during the second half of the team's NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Cleveland. The Browns won 35-30. (AP Photo/David Richard)

Do you remember that night? Of course, you do! It was magical. This relationship started with a bang! It was a hot and sultry September night in 2018 for Cleveland Browns fans when things took off. Baker Mayfield came to the team prior to that season starting and when he entered the Week 3 game against the New York Jets. In that huge moment, Mayfield changed the course of the team’s future over the next four seasons.

The team hadn’t won a game since the 2016 season. They went winless during the 2017 season. When Mayfield won that Week 3 game it was a fantastic moment. Cleveland went on to win many more games that season. While there were bumps in the road in his career with the Browns, Mayfield provided a fan base with many exciting and memorable moments that will forever live in our minds and hearts. The old-school Browns fan that I am, like many of you, you know what Mayfield did for this team and how he helped bring the franchise back to some respectability.

Mayfield is now the new Carolina Panthers quarterback after he was traded a couple of weeks ago. He made a point to give a shoutout to the Browns fan base in their hardcore passion for their team in his most recent press conference down in Carolina. I’m positive that Mayfield sincerely “got us” fans and for that, I will miss him.

Many things happened in this hot and cold relationship between Mayfield and the Browns over these past four seasons. Like most of us, when things change or there is a loss of some kind, we go through the emotions of that change. You hear some talk about grief in a time of loss and grief has a cycle.

As a school counselor in my other line of work, we often look at this grief cycle when we are discussing losses of some kind. The loss of Mayfield for many Browns fans is a big deal and those that act as though they don’t care and that Mayfield really didn’t matter to this team, or he wasn’t good enough to get us to a Super Bowl really aren’t decent enough fans to appreciate a positive moment in time.

Maybe you’re right as far as Mayfield not being the guy and maybe it was time to move on to the next step in trying to find that right guy to lead this franchise to the promised land.

But in the end, those that want to downplay where this team is right now are missing the bigger picture. No, this team isn’t where it needs to be to win championships but it’s much closer now and part of that is because of Mayfield.

So where are you on the cycle of grief when it comes to Baker Mayfield?

For some of you, you’ve never been a fan of his and his being traded is no loss to you whatsoever.

But for most of us hardy Browns fans, who’ve seen it all in our lifetimes, you might be experiencing some loss over the last few months with Mayfield leaving the team.

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