The Cleveland Browns have long been a franchise that is not short on surprises - although they are often of the kind that fans wish they could unsee.
The list includes prolonged playoff droughts, bizarre coaching hires, questionable draft selections, and defeats that have left even the most seasoned fans shaking their heads in wonderment.
However, one thing that should be of no surprise is the fate of quarterback Baker Mayfield, the former No. 1 overall selection and one-time savior of the franchise.
Baker Mayfield answered the question everyone wants to know: If DeShaun Watson is suspended, could he return to Cleveland in 2022? Here's his answer from his youth camp Tuesday in Norman. (via @CareyAMurdock, @Eddie_Rado) pic.twitter.com/ASNY5b8kdO— SoonerScoop.com (@SoonerScoop) June 28, 2022
The Browns made it clear that they were moving on from Mayfield in mid-March when they traded for quarterback Deshaun Watson, a transaction that cost Cleveland three No. 1 draft picks and a tidy $230 million in guaranteed money to Watson.
Mayfield remains on the roster as general manager Andrew Berry continues to patiently play the long game regarding trading Mayfield.
The threat of a lengthy suspension for Watson, which may be known soon now that his disciplinary hearing has officially begun, has continued to leave some in the media and the fanbase speculating that Mayfield will make a triumphant return to the Browns if indeed Watson is suspended for the entire 2022 season.
That has always seemed more fantasy than reality, and Mayfield himself essentially put the idea to rest on Tuesday when he was asked about a reunion with the Browns on Tuesday at his youth football camp in Norman, Okla. (quote via SoonerScoop.com):
“I think it’s been pretty obvious, the mutual decision on both sides is to move on. I’m thankful for my four years in Cleveland. There’s a lot of ups and downs and a ton of learning experiences that I’ll forever keep with me. The support staff in Cleveland, the people of Cleveland, it’s a great sports town. There’s no resentment toward the city of Cleveland by any means.
“I think for (a return to Cleveland) to happen there would have to be some reaching out. We’re ready to move on, I think on both sides.”
The Browns have moved on and Mayfield has moved on, even if he is currently still on the roster more than three months after the trade to acquire Watson.
So while a heroic return to the Browns might be a pleasant fiction to some, it is probably for the best that everyone else moves on as well.