QB Case Keenum (1.5.22)

On QB Baker Mayfield’s season, including the adversity Mayfield faced, given he had a ‘front row seat’:

“I do not want to speak for him. I can only speak for myself and what I saw. I think you are right, I did have a front row seat to one of the gutsiest, toughest performances of a quarterback playing in a season that I have ever seen, culminating in the other night and how he battled his tail off to really bring us back into that game and keep us in it. I think his entire season he was battling a lot of things. He is one of the toughest guys I know, and he is a fighter. He came to fight every single day and pushed through a lot of adversity just to get on the field on Sundays. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, and it grew. I already had a lot of respect for him, and it grew as the season went on. Yeah, unfortunate the way the season ended. Nobody wanted this, the way this has gone, Baker for sure. Nobody really wanted this, but it is tough. It is a tough football league. That is kind of the way it is sometimes.”


On if he was surprised in some weeks when Mayfield was able to play with the injuries:

“Maybe early, but not after a while. He is tough. I have watched him get hit a little bit closer than probably most people – maybe his wife and his mom, and then me (laughter); I might be third just to see how carefully he gets up, but yeah is tough. There were some weeks just to get him to the field was a small miracle.”


On Mayfield’s confidence as the season closes and Mayfield prepares to have surgery on the left, non-throwing shoulder:

“Like I said, I am not going to speak for him. I will let you guys talk to him as far as his mind and stuff like that. That is not a fair question to ask me. That is probably all I will answer on that one.”


On the unique experience flying to Green Bay the morning of the Week 16 game:

“That was nuts. That is definitely something I am going to remember forever – that whole week of Christmas, I guess you could say. Being with my family, just doing virtual meetings and trying to get some work in my basement. Basically, doing Peloton, some band work, pushups and prison workouts. Went to the park one day. It was above freezing so went to the park one day. My kids were over there freezing on the swings, and I am trying to run and do a walkthrough and get some footwork on this frozen old soccer field. Baker was doing the same thing, trying to figure out how to get ready to play. Taking meetings by my Christmas tree on Christmas Eve virtually. Going through the first 15 [plays] and then waking up. I went and got tested at six, and the way my tests were going, I was not expecting even to be able to go up to Green Bay. They said I popped a negative test, and here we go. We are on the way to Green Bay, get on the flight and go to the hotel, do a few walkthrough plays and go out there and play. It was unbelievable. It was definitely something I have never experienced before and hope to never do again.”


On the mood of the team following Monday’s loss to the Steelers and being eliminated from playoff contention and if he can help ‘rally the guys’ for this week’s game:

“The mood of the team is never great after a loss, but we have 24 hours, that is over and we are on to the next one now. I think we have a lot of guys in this locker room who really care, who love to win and who hate the alternative so I am excited to get in to work today. I have already been at work, but I am excited to get on the practice field and get ready for the Bengals.”


On one main takeaway or lesson from the 2021 season:

“I am not really yet in the business of reflecting yet. Looking back on the season, I think we have a lot going here. If you guys want me to talk about the Bengals, I will at some point, too. I am really not at the point where we are going to look back and look back at the season. We can’t do anything about that right now. The only thing we can do is look forward to the Bengals.”


On embracing the opportunity to play on Sunday:

“Heck yeah. I know we have group of guys in there who compete their tails off and who are excited for every opportunity we get. We have coaches up there who are putting together the best gameplan they possibly can this week. In all of our minds, this is going to be the biggest week of the year. We are all excited to get out there. This is the NFL. Are you kidding me? We are playing football in January. We are playing a kid’s game that we have been doing our whole lives. We are all very excited. Ready to get out there, ready to work and put this season to bed on a good note.”


On being in line to start against the Raiders prior to being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list:

“That was really disappointing. The whole week was again a whole different week than any of us have ever experienced. To sit there on the couch, feel pretty good and have to watch my team play, it was tough.”


On if the Raiders game resulting in a two-point loss made it even tougher, given he may have been able to help the team if available:

“Like I said before, I am not in the business right now of reflecting on the season. I am looking forward to the Bengals.”


On if he was surprised that the Browns did not start him and allow Mayfield to rest in more weeks, given his comment about ‘minor miracles’ that Mayfield was able to play some weeks:

“Sorry, I am not going to answer that one either.”


On expectations from the Bengals this week, given Cincinnati has already clinched the AFC North championship:

“I think they are going to play for it all. I do not know what the exact ramifications of how the seeding has gone out, but if I am them, I am coming in and giving everything I have. They want to obviously continue to play well on into their playoff run, and I think it is going to help their playoff seeding, as well – you guys can fact-check me on that. I think it is important to them, too. You are going to have two teams out there that really, really, really want to win. A division rival in the same state, you have a lot on the line.”


On having a front row seat to Mayfield’s 2020 and 2021 seasons and how much Mayfield’s injuries impacted performance this season:

“I will save those for after the season. I would rather talk about the Bengals right now.”


On the key factors for the Browns’ preparation for the Bengals following the loss to the Steelers and being eliminated from playoff contention:

“I think I have to be myself. We talked about it this morning with the phrase of ‘What are we playing for? What is there to play for?’ That is not even in our vocabulary. I do not understand what that even means. Like I said before, this is the National Football League. You have guys in this locker room, myself included and I can speak for myself, who we have been dreaming about playing in the NFL since we were kids, all of us. It is a dream come true to be able to go out there and represent not only the name on the back of our jerseys – our family’s – but the name on the front. There is a lot of pride. There is a lot of pride in Cleveland. I have experienced that in the short two years that I have been here. We have a lot of pride, and we have a lot of things to play for, and that is just getting me started. I could be here all day talking about that, but you guys like talking about other stuff (laughter). I appreciate you guys, though. Thanks for having me.”


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