Baker Mayfield tattoos represent more than just the quarterback for Browns fans (2022)

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The coolers had just been opened. Lifelong Browns fan Mark Gurko wanted a way to remember the moment.

Like most Cleveland fans, Gurko, a northeast Ohio native, watched at a bar with his friends as Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield made a dazzling NFL debut in Week 3 of the 2018 season. A rookie, Mayfield came off the bench during that Thursday night game against the Jets after Tyrod Taylor suffered a concussion and led Cleveland to a 21-17 comeback victory. The win was the Browns’ first since Dec. 24, 2016, and opened the famed locked beer coolers all across the city.

One of the most memorable moments in the game came during the third quarter.

After leading the Browns on a seven-play, 69-yard touchdown drive to pull within two points, Mayfield caught a 2-point conversion pass from receiver Jarvis Landry. The quarterback lingered along the line of scrimmage, pretending to call out protections as the ball was snapped directly to Duke Johnson, who threw a lateral to Landry. Mayfield drifted into the end zone and the receiver lobbed the ball to him for the score.

After nearly two years of straight losses, Gurko, now 43, was half expecting the Browns to blow the late lead, and finally exhaled when there was six seconds remaining.

“I said out loud, ‘Oh my God, are we going to win?’” Gurko recalled in a phone interview. “And then we all just erupted. It was just such a magical moment almost for lack of a better word. We were ecstatic. We were hugging, high-fiving people I didn’t know, people I did know. It was just such an amazing moment.”

The next morning, Gurko woke up still a little tired, but feeling that same energy, excitement and anticipation that hadn’t existed with fans for quite some time.

With one game, Mayfield changed the despondency that hung over the Browns and FirstEnergy Stadium from the previous two years. There was a reason to be excited and Gurko, who thought it a pivotal moment for the franchise, wanted to remember it in a unique way.

“Being a fan at that point felt different,” he said. “It just felt like something beautiful is going to happen. And so I just thought, how could I capture this moment? In life, it’s like, you make big-time memories and sometimes you want to capture them. And I just thought, wouldn’t it be cool to get a tattoo to remember this moment?”

That morning, he drove to the tattoo studio and re-watched the play a handful of times with his tattoo artist. The two came up with an Xs and Os design of the 2-point conversion catch, the “Baker Special,” that went on Gurko’s arm, and which also features a loving symbolic jab of the linemen purposely turned the wrong away due to the dysfunction of the team over the previous 20 years.

“I have other tattoos,” he said. “And they all symbolize pivotal moments in my life or very substantial memories that I wanted to capture. And I wanted to capture that.”

Over the years, as Mayfield’s career proved to be an up-and-down rollercoaster, Gurko has never regretted getting the tattoo, which evokes more of a feeling than an individual athlete. He had no regrets this season as Mayfield struggled after injuring his left shoulder and the Browns failed to reach the playoffs. He still has no regrets this week, after Mayfield was traded to the Panthers for a conditional 2024 fifth-round pick. If he wins Carolina’s starting job, he will face the Browns in Week 1 of the season.

“I love the grittiness, the moxie he brings, those are intangibles that you can’t teach,” Gurko said. “Things you just have, or you don’t. However, being a fan of this sport in general, not just the Browns, you can kind of break down his gameplay and say, look, there are some deficiencies, there are some things that he needs to work on.

(Video) Baker Mayfield talks about Browns matchup

“I wish him well, I would hope that he does well in Carolina, I’m still rooting for him, except for Game 1 this year, obviously.”

Gurko isn’t alone, both in having a Mayfield tattoo and not regretting getting one, even with the Mayfield era over in Cleveland.

Baker Mayfield tattoos represent more than just the quarterback for Browns fans (1)

On Thursday after the trade, Zach Efaw took to Twitter and shared a photo of his own Mayfield tattoo on his arm, one that features the quarterback in his gameday uniform -- brown with an orange 6 on the jersey -- and helmet.

Efaw tweeted the photo at ESPN Cleveland after listening to a discussion on that morning’s radio show about people with Mayfield tattoos and those who have named their pets -- and even children -- after the quarterback.

Efaw’s picture quickly made the round on Browns Twitter, garnering nearly 200 retweets and over 1,000 likes.

“I wrote in and did not expect it to blow up the way it did,” Efaw said.

Mayfield is just a part of a larger and in-progress tattoo sleeve that Efaw has started on his arm. He also has the Browns’ logo and Brownie Elf mascot, and is hoping to soon add some Guardians imagery as well as the Cleveland skyline.

Like Gurko, Efaw’s tattoo is in many ways about a feeling, he says.

As a lifelong Browns fan, Efaw (who hails from Mount Vernon but now lives outside of Springfield, Mo.) was only about 6 years old when the Browns moved to Baltimore ahead of the 1996 season. By the time they returned in 1999, he was all in.

“The Browns were playing the Saints, Tim Couch had that Hail Mary pass to Kevin Johnson,” he said, “and from that moment on I was hooked.”

When rumors began circulating in 2018 that the Browns were going to draft Mayfield, Efaw was excited. He was even more excited when it actually came to fruition, and beating the Jets in 2018 only validated that excitement.

But by the time the Browns made the playoffs in 2020, Efaw was ready to commemorate it forever and decided to finally move forward with getting a tattoo after thinking about numerous Cleveland ideas over the years.

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“He kind of breathed new life into us,” he said. “I think we can all say we felt that way.”

Baker Mayfield tattoos represent more than just the quarterback for Browns fans (2)

For Drew Champa, it was also a years-long process to getting his Mayfield tattoo, one that has only become more and more relevant this year.

The tattoo not only features Mayfield with his signature headband, clad in the Brownie Elf outfit, but also has “DAN6ER ZONE” written in the Top Gun font, planes flying in the background.

“It’s crazy that movie (Top Gun: Maverick) just comes out and he gets traded,” Champa said.

The 40 year old from the Wickliffe area is a self-described Browns super fan. As a kid, the Browns were all he cared about, and to this day, he can still tell you just about any player’s number from the teams he grew up watching (Center Mike Babb who was with Cleveland from 1982-87 and again from 90-91 wore number 61 in Cleveland, he points out to prove his point).

Champa already had numerous Browns tattoos before he got his Mayfield one, including one of Bernie Kosar.

“As the years had been going by I always told myself if we got a quarterback that would get us to the next level, I would consider getting another one,” he said.

When the Browns played at Denver in the 2018 season during Mayfield’s rookie year, Champa made the trip. When he was tailgating, by chance he happened to run into Mayfield’s then-fiancee, Emily, and mentioned that if the Browns won, he would consider getting a tattoo of the quarterback.

Cleveland eked out a 17-16 victory with Mayfield throwing for two touchdowns and one interception, so Champa began thinking about what design he wanted, and just over a month later, made it official.

Three and a half years ago, when Champa got that tattoo completed, it was impossible to predict exactly how Mayfield’s Browns career would have ended. But for all three men, there are really no regrets about choosing to memorialize the quarterback’s tenure.

“Looking back over the last 20 years, he’s definitely the best quarterback we’ve had since Bernie Kosar and he got us our first playoff win (in 18 years),” Champa said. “It’s not something where I’m going to go and get a tattoo removed. I haven’t thought about anything like that.”

Baker Mayfield tattoos represent more than just the quarterback for Browns fans (3)

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In the days since sharing his tattoo with Twitter, Efaw has heard unsolicited advice from all corners of the internet, with some suggesting he change the Browns jersey to one with Carolina blue.

For now, that’s not a change he’s willing to make. Mayfield has earned that spot, and he plans to root for the quarterback as long as the Panthers aren’t playing the Browns.

“It’s kind of in the middle whether I regret it or not,” Efaw said. “But it’s a piece of history. He did help change our franchise for the better whether he was consistent enough or wasn’t, he had his good years, had his bad years. But all in all, I think he helped change the culture and we’re better for it. I wish him all the best in Carolina and hopefully he does well. In Week 1 I will not be rooting for him, though.”

Over the last few years, Gurko’s tattoo has aged particularly well. It doesn’t contain Mayfield’s likeness, but it does capture his essence. A moment in time that has been highlighted repeatedly during the last week, as numerous retrospectives have been written on Mayfield’s Cleveland career.

For Gurko, the tattoo was always about more than Mayfield. It was also about ending two years of losing, and capturing a moment in time forever that the quarterback provided.

“Someday I’m going to be 80 years old -- hopefully I live that long -- and it’s going to be a black, inky blotch on my arm,” Gurko said. “But I’m going to be able to look at that and it’ll take me back. I’ll remember the night. I’ll get goosebumps. It’ll bring a smile to my face. So do I regret it? Absolutely not. It’s a moment in history that I’ll forever cherish, both for the team and also for him.

“Because listen, regardless of what happens in the future with him, regardless of what has happened in the past, you have to give him credit for for bringing a change to the culture of the Browns. Other things happen, obviously, you know, [Myles] Garrett and Jarvis coming in, I mean, there were things that helped change the culture. But he was a big part of that. And as a fan, I would hope all fans can appreciate what he did.”

Baker Mayfield tattoos represent more than just the quarterback for Browns fans (4)

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What is Baker Mayfield wearing on his left arm? ›

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has healed up from some of his many injuries during their bye week, but sources said he will have to wear a harness for injuries to his left shoulder for the remainder of the season and will require a surgical procedure on it after the year.

What is Baker Mayfield salary? ›

Baker Mayfield Contract Details & Salary

More: The #Browns will pay Baker Mayfield $10.5 million this season, which means they trimmed over $8 million in cash and salary-cap space. The #Panthers will pay Mayfield ~$5 million. Mayfield agreed to trim ~$3.5 million off his base salary.

Does Baker Mayfield have a tattoo? ›

The tattoo not only features Mayfield with his signature headband, clad in the Brownie Elf outfit, but also has “DAN6ER ZONE” written in the Top Gun font, planes flying in the background.

Does Baker Mayfield need shoulder surgery? ›

Fourth-year QB veteran Baker Mayfield underwent successful surgery Wednesday to repair a torn labrum in his left non-throwing shoulder. The surgery was conducted by Dr. Orr Limpisvasti in Los Angeles, and Mayfield is expected to make a full recovery in 4-6 months.

Did Baker Mayfield get cut? ›

Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield agreed to take a pay cut to help facilitate a trade to the Carolina Panthers. CLEVELAND — After the Cleveland Browns agreed to trade Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers earlier this week, one of the most surprising details about the deal was that the former No.

Did Baker Mayfield break his shoulder? ›

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield says shoulder has fracture in addition to torn labrum.

How much do the Browns owe Baker Mayfield? ›

According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, the Browns will reportedly pay Mayfield $10.5 million this season while the Panthers will pay him approximately $5 million. The quarterback trimmed roughly $3.5 million off of his base salary in the deal.

Do the Browns have to pay Baker Mayfield? ›

Now the Browns will pay Mayfield $10.5 million, the Panthers will pay him about $5 million, and he will agree to restructure his contract so he doesn't get the remaining money as guaranteed salary, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.

Who is the highest paid NFL player? ›

1. Deshaun Watson, $230 million
  • Deshaun Watson, $230 million. Signed: March 2022 (contract ends in 2026)
  • Russell Wilson (DEN), $165 million.
  • Kyler Murray (ARI), $160 million.
  • Aaron Rodgers (GB), $150.6 million.
  • Josh Allen (BUF), $150 million.
1 Sept 2022

Does Baker Mayfield play in the NFL? ›

Following a stint with Texas Tech, Mayfield played college football at Oklahoma, where he won the Heisman Trophy as a senior. He was selected first overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Baker Mayfield.
Passing attempts:2,005
Passing completions:1,227
Completion percentage:61.2%
Passing yards:14,675
3 more rows

Who Browns quarterback? ›

Cleveland Browns

Is there a problem with Baker Mayfield? ›

Baker Mayfield played with an injured shoulder in the 2021 season. Baker Mayfield, in the 2021 season, suffered a torn shoulder labrum while playing against the Houston Texans in Week 2. He went to play with an injured shoulder that affected his game performance.

What game did Baker Mayfield tear his labrum? ›

Mayfield tore his labrum in Week 2 and re-injured his shoulder in the Browns' loss to the Cardinals after taking a hard hit from J.J. Watt. He missed the first start of his career as a result of the injury when the Browns beat the Broncos, 17-14, last Thursday.

How is Baker Mayfield's recovery going? ›

"Baker is doing well in his rehab," Berry said during his media session at the NFL Combine. "I think you guys know how hard he works. He has worked his tail off since the surgery. He's right on track.

Why are Browns getting rid of Mayfield? ›

The reason no move was made wasn't that no team felt Mayfield could play anymore, but the amount of money he was owed on his 5th year option was too steep for a team to want to take on that contract for just one season. For a move to be made, the Browns were going to have to eat a large portion of Mayfield's contract.

Why did Baker want to leave Cleveland? ›

But the final straw for Mayfield, according to multiple sources, came on March 16, when ESPN NFL insider Chris Mortensen said he believed Mayfield's time in Cleveland was over and that he was told the Browns wanted "an adult" at quarterback.

What did Carolina give up for Baker Mayfield? ›

The Cleveland Browns sent their former No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers for a conditional 2024 fifth-rounder. Money was a major issue in this transaction, but the two sides were able to work it out. Mayfield was originally due a fully guaranteed $18.85 million in 2022.

What bone did Mayfield break? ›

Browns quarterback has a fractured humerus bone in his shoulder in addition to a torn labrum, according to FOX Sports' Jay Glazer.

How bad is Baker Mayfield's shoulder injury? ›

Little did anyone know at the time that Mayfield had suffered a fully torn labrum in his left non-throwing shoulder that would mark the beginning of the end of his career with the Browns. The injury contributed significantly to Mayfield's worst career season, and the Browns' dismal 8-9 record.

What kind of fracture does Baker Mayfield have? ›

Baker Mayfield has a fractured humerus bone in his left shoulder in addition to a torn labrum, according to a report by Jay Glazer of NFL FOX. Glazer said in the pre-game show prior to the Browns-Broncos game Oct. 21 at FirstEnergy Stadium that Mayfield told him directly of the injury.

Is Baker Mayfield 2022 salary guaranteed? ›

Baker Mayfield signed a 4 year, $32,682,980 contract with the Cleveland Browns, including a $21,849,440 signing bonus, $32,682,980 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $8,170,745. In 2022, Mayfield will earn a base salary of $4,858,000, while carrying a cap hit of $4,858,000 and a dead cap value of $5,000,000.

How Much money Will Baker Mayfield make in 2022? ›

The Panthers will reportedly pay Mayfield $5.5 million this year rather than his full $18.9 million.

Do the Browns owe Baker Mayfield? ›

Browns will pay Baker Mayfield $10.5 million of the $18.86 million he was owed, he agreed to restructure his contract with the Panthers to make his cap hit only about $5 million in Carolina. Browns will pay Baker Mayfield $10.5 million, he agrees to restructure contract with Panthers -...

How much money did Baker Mayfield make with the Cleveland Browns? ›

Mayfield's deal, which runs through the upcoming 2022 campaign, is worth a total of $18.8 million. Of that total, the Browns have agreed to pay $10.5 million with the Panthers footing just $5 million of his base salary.

What will the Browns get for Mayfield? ›

The Cleveland Browns traded quarterback Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday. The Browns will reportedly receive a conditional 2024 fifth-round pick that could become a fourth-rounder, based on playing time, and the two teams will split his salary.

What did Browns get for Mayfield? ›

The Browns and Panthers have agreed to a trade that sends Mayfield to Carolina in exchange for a 2024 conditional fifth-round pick (which can become a fourth-round selection), NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Wednesday.

How much do Waterboys make in the NFL? ›

On average, NFL waterboys make $53,000 per year (according to However, that's just the salary for beginners. For professionals, their salary can be higher as any other highest paid NFL waterboy. That means it depends quite a bit on your entry-level.

How much do NFL refs make? ›

We've all wondered it at one point: How much do NFL referees make? The answer: It's a big pay day. According to various sites, including USA Today, the average NFL referee salary was set at $205,000 per year starting in 2019. TWO-HUNDRED-AND-FIVE-THOUSAND-DOLLARS!

Who is the lowest paid NFL player? ›

Who is the lowest-paid NFL player in 2022?
YearsMinimum salary for a player on an Active/Inactive listMinimum salary for a player not on an Active/Inactive list
2 more rows
6 Sept 2022

What did Baker Mayfield do to his arm? ›

"Browns QB Baker Mayfield underwent successful surgery today to repair a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder," the spokesperson said. "The surgery was performed by Dr. Orr Limpisvasti in Los Angeles and the likely time period for a full recovery is 4-6 months.

When did Baker hurt shoulder? ›

His left shoulder was messed up, badly. Yes, it was his own fault for trying to make a tackle after throwing a Week Two interception against the Texans. It happened in the first half of a September game.

How severe is the Baker Mayfield injury? ›

In a procedural move Wednesday, the Browns placed Mayfield on injured reserve. Mayfield suffered a completely torn labrum and fraying in his left, non-throwing shoulder in Week 2 while attempting to make a tackle on an interception return versus the Houston Texans.

How bad is Baker Mayfield's shoulder injury? ›

Little did anyone know at the time that Mayfield had suffered a fully torn labrum in his left non-throwing shoulder that would mark the beginning of the end of his career with the Browns. The injury contributed significantly to Mayfield's worst career season, and the Browns' dismal 8-9 record.

How did Baker tear his labrum? ›

Mayfield tore his labrum in Week 2 and re-injured his shoulder in the Browns' loss to the Cardinals after taking a hard hit from J.J. Watt. He missed the first start of his career as a result of the injury when the Browns beat the Broncos, 17-14, last Thursday.

What is wrong Mayfield? ›

Baker Mayfield's shoulder surgery at the conclusion of the 2021 season. After the Browns were eliminated from the postseason following a Week 17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Browns announced Mayfield would undergo surgery on his torn labrum, which ended his season.

Did Baker Mayfield quit Browns? ›

The Cleveland Browns finally completed the process of moving on from Baker Mayfield, agreeing Wednesday to trade the quarterback to the Carolina Panthers.

What happened to Baker Mayfield against the Cardinals? ›

Mayfield took the postgame podium Sunday night following the Browns' 37-14 loss to the Cardinals with his left arm in a sling after injuring his left shoulder for a second time this season. When asked how his shoulder was feeling, Mayfield was blunt.


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