Mayfield enjoying 'transparent' Darnold battle, Browns QB situation 'none of my business'

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Baker Mayfield's focus is solely on the Carolina Panthers and his "transparent" battle with fellow quarterback Sam Darnold, despite developments in the Deshaun Watson saga at former team the Cleveland Browns.

Mayfield – the Browns' first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft – was traded to the Panthers last month after Cleveland had moved for Watson.

But when the Panthers play the Browns in Week 1, Watson will be absent, following news of his suspension by the league on Monday.

Former US district judge Sue L. Robinson advised the NFL that Watson should be banned for six games with no additional fine following a disciplinary hearing.

Watson faced 24 civil lawsuits following sexual assault and misconduct allegations. He was not charged by two grand juries and has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

The NFL could yet appeal that decision and pursue a longer suspension, but both the Browns and the NFLPA have accepted the punishment.

Jacoby Brissett will instead fill in until late October, but that is of no interest to Mayfield, who told reporters: "Honestly, it's none of my business.

"I don't play against the other quarterback. I know that's the most cliched thing to say, but that's just the truth.

"When it comes down to it, I'm game-planning against their defense, and if I'm playing or not, I'm trying to help this team win. That's my mindset going into it, so I've got to keep getting better.

"But I'm not focused about Week 1 right now. We'll handle that when it comes, but for now it's about getting the Panthers better and our offense continuing to get better as well."

Indeed, there is no guarantee Mayfield will be starting either, as he faces competition from Darnold – the third overall pick in the same 2018 draft – for the starting spot.

Mayfield is happy with how that tussle has been treated by his new team, though.

"Everything has been extremely transparent," he said. "They're telling us exactly how they're handling it.

"It's not being said to one person and Sam hears another thing; it's right there in front of us and clear and concise."

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