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Pro wrestling legend Jim Ross shares heartfelt Baker Mayfield story on his podcast

The Browns’ new quarterback has a truly compassionate side

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl-Oklahoma vs Georgia Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

WWE Hall-of-Famer and all-around professional wrestling legend Jim Ross has long worn his love for the Oklahoma Sooners on his sleeve. The Oklahoma native has openly rooted for the school’s sports programs, most particularly their football team; Ross typically heads to the broadcast area to the tune of the school’s fight song, “Boomer Sooner.” So there’s no doubt he has thoughts on Baker Mayfield, the former Oklahoma quarterback whom the Browns drafted first overall last month.

While character concerns about Mayfield were among the few knocks on him during the pre-draft process, Ross has no worries about Mayfield’s personality or ability to succeed in the NFL.

Ross relayed a touching personal story about his interactions with the quarterback on The Jim Ross Report podcast last week, during which he named Mayfield his “Slobberknocker of the Week.” Ross recounted Mayfield reaching out after Ross’ wife, Jan, was killed when a car crashed into her Vespa motorcycle in 2017.

247Sports’ Sam Hellman has the transcript:

When my wife got killed last year, during the summer when coach [Lincoln] Riley got named the head coach at OU, ESPN called me to come to the stadium and do an interview. While I was there waiting my turn to record the interview about coach Riley’s ascension and coach [Bob] Stoops retiring, Baker was there. He came up to me and he had tears in his eyes. I thought something was wrong, something occurred to him. He saw to me and he got tears in his eyes because he knew what I was going through with losing my wife. He gave me a big hug. He said, ‘JR, I just want you to know I love you and I’ll always have your back.’ Even today when I think about it, my eyes get teary. Fast forward to the fall. I was at every OU game... I always stood down by the end zone and watched the guys warm up early, early. Baker puts on an Odell Beckham Jr. display catching the ball, it’s amazing. Every game, he came over to me and gave me a big hug. He’d say, ‘JR, I love you. Remember, I’ll always have your back’... If I had a son, I’d want him to be like Baker Mayfield. I swear to God.”

Though thoughts often turn to Mayfield’s crotch-grab against Kansas, the planting of the OU flag at Ohio Stadium or his drunken arrest to try to paint him as Johnny Manziel 2.0, Mayfield’s honest and organic concern for Ross shows just why this Browns quarterback isn’t in danger of turning into that, more infamous one.

And while Ross can’t be called unbiased in his favor of Mayfield or the team he played for in college, his years in the pro wrestling industry makes him a shrewd judge of character. He’s seen and met all kinds of people, and according to Ross—and Ross’ story—Mayfield seems very much like a good and compassionate human being.