When Baker Mayfield suits up for the Carolina Panthers against his former team, the Cleveland Browns, on September 11, he will be wearing his familiar jersey number. Mayfield and punter Johnny Hekker struck an unspecified deal for the new quarterback to acquire the rights to No. 6.
Mayfield wanted No. 6 very much because it holds a specific significance to him.
“You know, six is special to me, and not because it was even my favorite number,” Mayfield said. “It was the number I was given as a walk-on at Texas Tech. And when I transferred to Oklahoma, they thought it was my favorite number, so they gave it to me again, and it’s just kind of stuck. To me, it kind of symbolizes my story, my history with that, and I truly enjoy being able to represent that.”
When he arrived at Texas Tech in 2013, he was a walk-on. He played in eight games as a Red Raider and then transferred to Oklahoma. After sitting out the 2014 campaign due to NCAA transfer rules, he started the next three seasons as a Sooner and helped lead the program to a 34-6 record in 40 games. As a senior in 2017, Mayfield became the first former walk-on to win the Heisman Trophy.
Baker Mayfield Strikes Deal with Punter for Favorite Number
Hekker signed a three-year, $7.6 million free-agent contract with the Panthers in March. He was previously with the Los Angeles – and St. Louis – Rams for the first 10 seasons of his NFL career. He is a four-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler, and should stay busy this season in Carolina.
When Hekker joined the team four months ago, he actually purchased the digit from third-string quarterback P.J. Walker. Considering the .gif he tweeted yesterday, the 32-year-old punter likely made a nice profit off of Mayfield.
Baker Mayfield reportedly ate $3.5 million in salary so he could move from Cleveland to Carolina. If he could give up that much, he certainly had a few bucks to spare for Hekker.