Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield speaks at a press conference at the Marriott Marquis after winning the Heisman Trophy on December 9 in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
After being conspicuously absent for three nonfootball events this week amid assertions that he was ill, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield made a dramatic entrance at Saturday morning's Rose Bowl media day.
Mayfield, this season's Heisman Trophy winner, missed Friday's media conference, and when he did not appear at the start of Saturday's media day, it was announced he would not show up because of his lingering illness.
However, Mayfield then appeared, ready to answer questions. He said he initially had decided not to attend Saturday's media gathering because he was suffering from flulike symptoms. But then he turned on the television and saw reports that he was not at the media event.
"That's when I realized this isn't about me," he said. "It's about Oklahoma. My teammates shouldn't have to answer questions on my behalf."
So he arrived and took his place to answer questions, noting that he has been ill, but expects to play in Monday's Rose Bowl game against No. 3 Georgia in a College Football Playoff semifinal game.
"I'm not dying," Mayfield said in a scratchy voice. "But I'm not feeling 100 percent right now. I wouldn't say it's the flu. It's something bad. You don't want it."
The question is whether Mayfield's illness will affect his play against Georgia.
Head coach Lincoln Riley said Mayfield has been limited in some areas during practice to help save some energy.
"I think he'll be ready to play," Riley said. "He'll be ready to play. Will he be at 100 percent physically? We'll see. But he's not going to miss this one."
Mayfield reported that he began to feel sick during the Christmas break, and he is taking an antibiotic and drinking tea with lemon. He has been able to keep food and liquid down.
"Being able to eat and keep up my fluids, I'm pretty sure that's been a positive," he said. "To be able to stay out there the whole game and be 100 percent for all four quarters or however long it takes, that's a big thing for me."
Tony Barnhart of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that he spoke with someone from the Oklahoma program who said Mayfield has been at practices this week, but has had very little energy.