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Baker Mayfield's play sold Austin Hooper on joining Browns

3/25/2020 1:22:54 PM
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Austin Hooper ran into Baker Mayfield in 2018 on one of those days the Browns QB woke up feeling especially dangerous — during the Browns’ 28-16 victory over Hooper’s Falcons — and it helped sell him on signing a free-agent deal with the Browns last week, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

“No question, being in a position that is dependent upon getting balls from the quarterback, it was definitely a part of the process for me,’’ Hooper said on a conference call Tuesday. "Playing against Baker Mayfield live, seeing his arm and seeing his competitive spirit and the way he rallies the guys around him, that is what sold me on him before I was obviously a free agent."

“This was two seasons ago now when we came up to Cleveland. I knew what he was about for a couple of years now so when the opportunity presented itself on the first day of legal tampering, I couldn’t turn it down.”

Hooper, who became the highest-paid tight end in the NFL with his four-year contract worth $42 million, including a $10 million signing bonus and $23 million guaranteed, spoke with Mayfield during the decision-making process and again after he made up his mind.

We had a nice phone call," the two-time Pro Bowler said. “Just really trying to get to know the guy. We didn’t really talk about football too much. I was just trying to get a feel for him and vice versa since we’ll be working together. It was a productive phone call.”

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