During their two years together at Oklahoma, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray never stopped competing.
Not so much for the starting job. Mayfield had already locked that up, having quarterbacked the Sooners to the College Football Playoff during the 2015 season, weeks before Murray arrived in Norman, Oklahoma, after transferring from Texas A&M.
But that didn’t stop them from finding other ways to compete, even in the smallest of ways. Best of NFL Nation
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Was it ever, according to Austin Kendall, Tanner Schafer, Reece Clark and Connor McGinnis — the four other Oklahoma quarterbacks who shared a meeting room with Mayfield and Murray during those 2016 and 2017 seasons.
"We always turned every single drill into some sort of competition — just because they wanted to beat each other, which was obviously quite fun," McGinnis said. "But oh my gosh, it was nonstop."
This Sunday, the two former teammates will be out to beat each other once again, as Murray and the Cardinals travel to face Mayfield’s Browns in Cleveland (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox). In their first NFL meeting two seasons ago, Murray got the best of Mayfield. Now, Mayfield will look to return the favor by handing the undefeated Cardinals their first loss.
"Obviously he was the guy, but I gave him s— all the time," Murray said. "It was competitive, but at the same time, we had the best quarterback room in the country — we knew it.
"The confidence, the swagger about that room was unmatched. … and it was fun."
Unmatched, indeed. Mayfield and Murray became the first quarterbacks from the same school to not only win the Heisman Trophy in back-to-back seasons but go No. 1 overall in consecutive NFL drafts.
"Really special," said former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who handed the reins over to Riley in 2017, one year before Mayfield would do the same with Murray. "Just two incredibly talented, driven individuals that really were great examples for the team on how to be teammates, how to work and how to prepare." NFL Rank: Top 100 players for 2021 Our annual predictive ranking of the top 100 NFL players for this season: • NFL Rank list: The top 100 for 2021 » • Experts pick snubs, surprises, more » • Rookies who could make it next year » • Why the Jags, Eagles were shut out » Yet despite that drive to be the best, Mayfield and Murray never allowed a potentially combustible situation at Oklahoma to spill into controversy, even after encountering a pitfall or two.Mayfield embraced the competition, as opposed to feeling threatened by Murray’s […]