Jim Ross knows a thing or two about leadership.
Throughout his years in wrestling, the Hall of Famer Ross has plied his trade in NWA, WCW, WWE, AEW and others working on commentary, podcasting, talent relations and any other number of roles. However, he's also well versed in football, as anyone who's heard his commentary will attest.
When speaking with Dennis Farrell and Impact Wrestling's Dave Crist on the Wrestling With Sports Podcast, Ross spoke out about the Cleveland Browns and their quick change of fortunes. Going from 0-16 to a promising team in the AFC North, Ross remembered watching Baker Mayfield one year before he emerged as an NFL star.
"He's a great leader and has great sensibilities, and is a really compassionate guy. I can tell you a real quick story. In March 2017, my wife got killed right outside our home riding her Vespa home from the gym. An underage driver was allegedly on his phone. He ran over her and killed her. I laid low for a few weeks after that, because I didn't know which way I was going to turn or what the next chapter of the book was going to be like so to speak. When I went to my first OU game, I like to sit in the same specific spot near the endzone, and watch the Sooners warm up. You have offensive lineman coming through, you can see the quarterbacks come throw. Baker Mayfield did the best Odell Beckham Jr. impersonation of anyone I'd seen -- otherwise, he was out there early, but wasn't throwing the ball. He was catching passes," Ross said.
While all that was nice, Ross recalled Mayfield specifically coming up to him to console him in regards to the aforementioned passing of Jim's wife, Jan. Ross believes that media detractors of Mayfield's simply don't know the quarterback's character as well as he does.
First game of the year, he came over to me and gave me a big hug. He said 'I'm sorry what happened,' referring to her death. 'I want you to know, I've always got your back.' I appreciated that. I hugged him harder, and that was great. His sensibilities are incredible. Every home game the rest of the season, I'm in the same spot. Every home game of the season, I get a hug. Every home game of the season I hear him say 'remember, JR. I've got your back.' The Colin Cowherds of the world just don't know him, but Cowherd makes a lot of money playing a wrestling heel on television. I was on his show, and I can tell you he doesn't hate Baker Mayfield, but he's found a hot spot and something that got over, so he's going to continue to ride that horse," said Ross.
A little over a year later, Mayfield would become the starting QB of the NFL's Browns.
You can hear Ross speak about Mayfield, All Elite Wrestling, pro wrestling podcasting and more on the newest edition of Wrestling With Sports.
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