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Carolina Panthers

Austin Corbett has familiar faces in this new place

Austin Corbett

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – For Austin Corbett and Baker Mayfield, nearly three years and a host of experiences have passed since the last time they played together.

The Panthers' new right guard and quarterback, who both joined this offseason, have taken on a new experience together before.

Only this time, they're not as "wide-eyed," as Mayfield put it.

Mayfield and Corbett were both drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2018, when Mayfield went first overall out of Oklahoma, and Corbett followed as the first pick of the second round from Nevada.

Once the two made it to Cleveland, Corbett said their initial connection was a natural result of being the new guys in the league and playing their respective positions.

"Quarterback (and) offensive lineman rookies kind of cling to each other," Corbett said.

Corbett was traded to the Rams during his second season in Cleveland, won a Super Bowl in Los Angeles, and signed with Carolina in March, while Mayfield stuck with the Browns until he was traded with just weeks to go before the start of Panthers training camp.

Together again at Carolina, Corbett and Mayfield have been able to trade stories of their experiences, take what they've learned from their journeys, and apply them to their new venture with the Panthers.

"Through the ups and downs of (Corbett) being traded, having some success there in L.A., being around some great veterans and learning – I had the same thing," Mayfield said. "(We're) able to come back together and talk about the experiences."

When Mayfield's trade news became official, Corbett posted on his Instagram story to celebrate the news.

"We've stayed in contact over the years, and I'd always been pulling for him there in Cleveland," Corbett said. "Obviously stoked to have him here. (He's a) great guy, great person, who genuinely just cares about you and wants to get to know you. He plays with his heart, that's for sure."


Mayfield and Corbett also have a Cleveland connection to wide receiver Rashard Higgins, who played with the Browns from 2016-21, and offensive line coach James Campen.

Campen coached the Browns' offensive line in 2019, which Mayfield saw as a major advantage in helping him with the quick transition to a new offense.

"I know his terminology, and I'm very thankful for that," Mayfield said. "That would be the hardest (adjustment); if it was a completely new offensive line system, protection schemes and all that – that'd be very difficult."

And Corbett said Mayfield's close relationship with Campen has helped the new quarterback make an easier adjustment to his new team – one that needed to be made with a short turnaround.

"Baker's going to have a good time no matter what," Corbett said. "He's going to joke around, he's going to give guys a hard time. He gives Campy a hard time a pretty good amount. It's just the bond they have. . . . They picked it right back up when he showed up here.

"It's been awesome, just a great guy to lighten the mood, but at the same time, he knows when to work."

Corbett said one of the benefits of holding training camp at Wofford, away from the facility, is the team bonding that happens as a result. Newer Panthers, like Corbett and Mayfield, have even more opportunities to get to know their teammates because they're living on campus and eating meals together.

"(When) we're here, there's nowhere to go," Corbett said. "You're staying in the dorms, around all the guys, and you've really got no option but to get to know everybody. He's doing an incredible job with it."

And Mayfield said having Corbett around has helped him feel a level of comfort, knowing their goals are aligned and that Corbett can help him get acclimated to a new locker room.

"He knows exactly what my motives are, what I want to do, and it's all about football and winning," Mayfield said. "That's great to have that similarity to where he can communicate that.

"If anybody has any questions, since I'm the new guy here, he can be another messenger for me. (It's) just that we're all on the same page trying to win games."

View photos from the first padded practice on Monday, August 1 at camp.

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