LOS ANGELES ― While still expected to play in the Rose Bowl, Oklahoma star quarterback Baker Mayfield was again too sick to attend another game-related activity.
Mayfield had been scheduled to be among five offensive players at Oklahoma’s media session on Friday, but he was not there.
Mayfield also did not attend Oklahoma events at Disneyland on Wednesday and Lawry’s The Prime Rib restaurant in Beverly Hills on Thursday. But he was present at practice Thursday, according to writers who were there. How much he participated is unclear.
Oklahoma offensive coordinator Cale Gundy, appearing at the Friday media session, deferred to coach Lincoln Riley when asked about how Mayfield was feeling and what he was able to do in practice. Riley is not due to address the media on Friday, however.
“Obviously you saw him out there, so we’ll just leave it at that,” Gundy said, smiling.
Mayfield’s absence was generally being treated as a state secret by Oklahoma, with senior offensive tackle Orlando Brown said he wasn’t allowed to speak about it.
“Not having him there [for team functions] has been a little weird. Not having him here at this press conference is a little weird,” Brown said. “He’s kind of our heartbeat, and it’s been a little weird with him not being around as much.”
Sooners tight end Mark Andrews was asked if he and teammates were staying away from Mayfield, lest they catch his sickness, and washing their hands after catching footballs from him. Andrews laughed.
“I haven’t been washing my hands after that. But he’s been all right,” Andrews said.
Mayfield already has banked plenty of media sessions this month, at both the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York and at the College Football Awards ceremony in Atlanta, where he spoke of his respect for Georgia.
There’s another media session scheduled for Saturday, and it’s unknown whether Mayfield will be there.
“He’s always at these things. He’s done it for a long time,” Andrews said. “A little weird. But he’ll be fine.”