Baker Mayfield has made 51 consecutive starts for the Browns. That streak will come to an end on Thursday night.
The Cleveland quarterback will not be able to play against the Broncos on a short week. Mayfield has been dealing with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder for most of the season, and he aggravated in Cleveland’s 34-17 loss against the Cardinals in Week 6.
Mayfield didn’t miss any time during that game. He was pulled late with the Browns trailing in favor of Case Keenum, but that was largely an effort to protect him from further injury. However, the damage has already been done.
The silver lining is that despite Mayfield’s rough-sounding injury, he doesn’t appear to be in danger of missing too much time. The 3-3 Browns will be without him this week, and he may be questionable moving forward, but all he’s guaranteed to miss right now is Thursday’s game.
Here’s the latest on Mayfield’s injury, and when you can expect to see him back for the Browns.
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How long will Baker Mayfield be out?
The Browns haven’t put Mayfield on Injured Reserve. That means that the team is planning on him missing fewer than three games, so there’s a possibility he could return to action in Weeks 8 or 9.
Mayfield said earlier in the week that he planned on playing in Week 7 before the Browns ruled him out on Wednesday. Browns coach Kevin Stefanski praised Mayfield for his effort and attempt to return to the field.
“Baker fought really hard to play, he’s a competitor and obviously wants to be out there but just couldn’t make it on a short week,” Stefanski said, per the Browns’ official website. “We know he will continue to do everything in his power to return as quickly as possible.”
Stefanski didn’t rule out Mayfield playing in Week 8 and even implied that Mayfield might have had a chance to play this week if the team wasn’t playing on Thursday. As such, it seems like the plan is for Mayfield to just miss one or maybe two games. His status will depend on how he practices next week, but if he feels good, he will push to play.
“I think whenever we decide to give me some of these reps and throw the pads on and simulate these throws, these game throws. If I’m not able to do and be 100 percent, that’s where I’d be at,” Mayfield said, per the AP.
“I have to make that decision. Only I know how my body feels. And if anyone questions whether I’m hindering the team in going out there injured, that’s just not right. so it’s my decision, I get to say whether I’m able to play or not, and that’s just how it is.”
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What is Baker Mayfield’s injury?
Mayfield is dealing with a shoulder injury that stemmed from a dislocation he suffered in Week 2. The shoulder has bothered him since that time and he aggravated the injury in Week 6.
Mayfield was tripped up by J.J. Watt while scrambling to his left in an effort to complete a pass or scramble for a first down. Mayfield was in pain after the play and Browns medical staff tended to his injury on the field.
Despite the injury, Mayfield was able to return to the game, but he didn’t finish it. He was replaced by Case Keenum late in Cleveland’s 34-17 loss against Arizona.
Mayfield didn’t practice ahead of the Browns’ Thursday night game against the Broncos in Week 7. He said his shoulder “feels like s—” after the loss to the Cardinals as a result of the labrum injury. He also explained that the labrum is “completely torn” and was in worse shape after Week 6 than it was earlier in the season.
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Baker Mayfield injury timeline
Sept. 19: Mayfield first suffers an injury to his non-throwing left shoulder. The Cleveland QB dislocated it while making a tackle after throwing an interception against the Texans.
Oct. 7: NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport first reports that Mayfield is dealing with a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder. He is wearing a shoulder harness to prevent additional damage to the injury.
#Browns QB Baker Mayfield, who has been wearing a shoulder harness to play, suffered a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder on Sept 19 vs the #Texans, sources say. No surgery needed as of now. He was listed on the report after the injury and hasn’t missed a practice snap.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 7, 2021
Oct. 17: Mayfield aggravates his injury after being tackled from behind by J.J. Watt. He doesn’t miss a snap until he is pulled late in the Browns’ 34-17 loss against the Cardinals.
After the game, Mayfield says that his shoulder “feels like s—” but he “absolutely” expects to play on Thursday night against the Broncos.
Oct. 19: Mayfield tells reporters that his shoulder injury is worse now than it was after Week 2. He describes his labrum as “completely torn” but says that he still plans to play in Week 7.
Oct. 20: Kevin Stefanski announces that Mayfield will not play in Week 7. Instead, Case Keenum will start for the Browns with Nick Mullens serving as the backup.
“Case Keenum will be our starter tomorrow night and we have full confidence in him to lead us and do the things necessary to put us in position to win,” Stefanski said, via the team’s website. “Baker fought really hard to play, he’s a competitor and obviously wants to be out there but just couldn’t make it on a short week. We know he will continue to do everything in his power to return as quickly as possible.”