Richard Sherman, 49ers rip Baker Mayfield for pregame handshake snub
Baker Mayfield was benched late in what was easily the worst game of his young NFL career on Monday night, and the Cleveland Browns quarterback apparently helped motivate his opponent with the way he carried himself prior to kickoff.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman revealed after his team’s 31-3 win that Mayfield refused to shake hands with Niners players at midfield before the game. Sherman, who picked off a Mayfield pass in the first quarter, said that fired him and his teammates up.
“What’s amazing, and annoying, was him not shaking hands at the beginning,” Sherman told Michael Silver of NFL.com. “That’s some college s—. It’s ridiculous. We’re all trying to get psyched up, but shaking hands with your opponent — that’s NFL etiquette. And when you pull bush league stuff, that’s disrespectful to the game. And believe me, that’s gonna get us fired up.”
Sherman said there’s a difference between building rivalries and having respect for the game, and he feels Mayfield’s performance on Monday (8-of-22 for 100 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions) is evidence of why the former Oklahoma star needs to check his ego.
“He hasn’t earned anything in this league. How many games has he won? He’s acting like he was the MVP last year,” Sherman said. “If (Patrick) Mahomes did that, it would be one thing. But he would never do that, because he has too much respect for the game.
“And when you see a guy who doesn’t? You humble him every chance you get. Because eventually, he will have respect for the league — or he’ll be out of it.”
DeForest Buckner, another 49ers captain, said Mayfield also snubbed him. He said those types of antics can “rub a lot of people the wrong way,” while tight end George Kittle said Mayfield briefly slapped his hand and he doesn’t mind the bulldog mentality.
Mayfield’s attitude is a big reason why he became a Heisman Trophy winner and first overall draft pick, but it also puts a target on his back. As we saw with the way Nick Bosa mocked him, opponents feel an added boost when they go up against a guy who has done the things Mayfield does. The Browns don’t want Mayfield to lose that edge, but not taking part in basic NFL rituals probably isn’t going to do him any favors.
UPDATE: Videos of the pregame coin toss appear to show Sherman exaggerated to make Mayfield look bad.