Oct 17, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) warms up before the game between the Browns and the Arizona Cardinals at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Baker Mayfield (shoulder) needs surgery but hopes to delay it

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is expected to have surgery on his left, non-throwing shoulder, and hopes are it can wait until after the season, NFL Network reported Thursday.

He has been playing through a torn labrum suffered in Week 2, and he aggravated the injury Sunday in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He has been ruled out of Thursday night’s game against the Denver Broncos.

Veteran Case Keenum will start in place of Mayfield.

By playing on Thursday this week, the Browns (3-3) have 10 days off until their next game on Oct. 31 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, giving Mayfield time for rest and rehabilitation.

Mayfield, 26, played all but four snaps of Sunday’s 37-14 loss to the Cardinals. He completed 19 of 28 passes for 234 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

On the season, he has completed 116 of 173 passes (67.1 percent) for 1,474 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Oct 17, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Case Keenum (5) congratulates quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) on the touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Oddsmakers move line, credit Browns +1 minus Baker Mayfield

Oddsmakers moved swiftly to react to the news that Case Keenum would start for the Cleveland Browns over Baker Mayfield on Thursday.

PointsBet was first to publicize the shift, crediting the Browns with a point off the spread against the Denver Broncos.

Cleveland moved from a 3-point underdog to +2 with Keenum in the lineup.

The Browns (3-3) face the Broncos (3-3) on a short week and without much of their established offensive weaponry. Running back Nick Chubb (calf) is out for the second game in a row and his primary backup, Kareem Hunt (calf), was placed on short-term IR.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is not expected to play for the Browns, who listed 20 players on the injury report to start the week.

–Field Level Media

Oct 17, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Case Keenum (5) congratulates quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) on the touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Browns tab QB Case Keenum to start vs. Broncos

Cleveland Browns quarterback Case Keenum will start Thursday’s game against the visiting Denver Broncos.

Keenum will be under center in place of Baker Mayfield, who had started 51 consecutive games since his rookie season in 2018. Mayfield is nursing a torn labrum in his left, non-throwing shoulder.

“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,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Wednesday. “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.”

Keenum, 33, has started 62 games since 2013. He has thrown for 14,420 yards with 75 touchdowns and 47 interceptions in 71 career appearances with the Houston Texans (2013-14), St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams (2015-16), Minnesota Vikings (2017), Broncos (2018), Washington Football Team (2019) and Browns.

Mayfield, 26, played all but four snaps of Sunday’s 37-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He completed 19 of 28 passes for 234 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

Mayfield has a chance to return to action in Cleveland’s Week 8 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL Network reported on Wednesday.

The Browns (3-3) have lost two in a row heading into Thursday’s game versus the Broncos (3-3), who have dropped three straight.

–Field Level Media

Oct 17, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) lays on the ground from an injury during the third quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Browns bruised, QB Baker Mayfield iffy, for battle with Broncos

Baker Mayfield continues to insist his injured left shoulder isn’t a problem.

The Browns quarterback is planning on playing Thursday night when the Denver Broncos come to Cleveland for a battle of 3-3 teams.

Mayfield aggravated the labrum injury in his non-throwing shoulder Sunday during the Browns’ 37-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Due to the short week, there are no shortage of observers expressing Mayfield might be better off letting the shoulder heal.

But Mayfield made it clear Tuesday that he — and only he — decides if he will be on the field.

“I have to make that decision,” Mayfield said. “Only I know how my body feels. If anyone questions whether I’m hurting the team and going out there injured, that’s not right. It’s my decision. I get to say whether I’m able to play or not.”

Mayfield was a limited practice participant on Tuesday. He has passed for 1,474 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions this season.

Even if Mayfield does take the field Thursday, he won’t have star running back Nick Chubb (523 rushing yards) or sidekick Kareem Hunt (361) in the backfield with him.

Chubb will miss his second straight game due to a calf injury. Hunt was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with his own calf injury sustained against the Cardinals.

D’Ernest Johnson will be Cleveland’s starting running back. The third-year pro has carried three times for 11 yards this season and 40 times for 198 yards in 38 career games.

“It’s a next-man-up mentality,” Johnson said. “We just have to go out there and just execute. The mentality stays the same, and the standard is still high in the room.”

The Browns have dropped their past two games. Despite having NFL sack leader Myles Garrett (eight sacks) on the defense, Cleveland allowed a total of 84 points in the setbacks.

Denver has dropped three straight games, including a 34-24 home loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

The Broncos also have their own banged-up quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, who is dealing with a foot injury. Bridgewater said the foot was stepped on during Sunday’s game.

Bridgewater was limited in practice on Tuesday. He said he is hopeful of playing, though coach Vic Fangio feels Wednesday might be the day that determines if Bridgewater will be ready for gameday.

“Teddy is a veteran, and he’s a good guy to talk to as to how he’s feeling,” Fangio said. “He’ll give you a straight and honest answer.”

Bridgewater, who has passed for 1,514 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions, said playing hurt is part of the terrain during a short week.

“Just like the Cleveland Browns — I’m pretty sure they have guys banged up and they’re playing on a short week,” Bridgewater said. “We have guys banged up and we’re playing on a short week. We’ve got to make sure that we just lock in mentally and try to do the best that we can to execute the game plan.”

The Denver defense, led by star Von Miller (4.5 sacks), took another blow Sunday when fellow linebacker Alexander Johnson (32 tackles) sustained a season-ending pectoral injury. The Broncos were already without two linebackers, Josey Jewell (season-ending pectoral) and Bradley Chubb (ankle surgery). Chubb is on injured reserve but projected to return later in the season.

The Broncos are weighing whether to activate wideout Jerry Jeudy (ankle) off IR. He has been sidelined since being hurt in Week 1 against the New York Giants, and Fangio said Jeudy has less than a 50 percent chance of playing Thursday.

Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (shoulder) missed practice Tuesday. His status could be firmed up Wednesday.

Denver has dominated the series with 12 wins in the past 13 meetings, including six straight triumphs in Cleveland.

–Field Level Media

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) fumbles the ball as he is brought down by Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt (99) during the second half of an NFL football game at FirstEnergy Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Cleveland, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

Browns 5

Browns QB Baker Mayfield determined to play despite injury

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said the labrum of his left, non-throwing shoulder is “completely torn,” but he still plans to play Thursday when the Browns host the Denver Broncos.

While he reportedly is seeking a second opinion on the results of an MRI, he said he will be on the field as long as he’s able to be. ESPN reported Tuesday that the Browns don’t think the injury is season ending or will need surgery right away.

“Only I know how my body feels,” Mayfield told reporters Tuesday before practice, adding it was still to be determined whether he’d take part. “And if anyone questions whether I’m hurting the team by going out there, that’s not right. It’s my decision. I get to say whether I am able to play or not.”

He did not take part in Monday’s practice.

Mayfield played all but four snaps of Sunday’s 37-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He completed 19 of 28 passes for 234 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

The Browns, a team with preseason Super Bowl aspirations, enter Thursday night’s game with a 3-3 mark and a number of injuries.

Running back Nick Chubb (calf) is unlikely to play and Week 6 starter Kareem Hunt was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, also with a calf injury. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. missed Monday’s practice because of a shoulder injury. Linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (ankle) was also put on IR on Tuesday.

–Field Level Media

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) is met by staff members after sustaining an injury during the second half of an NFL football game at FirstEnergy Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Cleveland, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

Browns 7

Browns RB Kareem Hunt (calf) out several weeks

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah are out several weeks after sustaining injuries in Sunday’s game.

Hunt is expected to land on injured reserve and miss 4-6 weeks, per NFL Network. The same could be in store for Owusu-Koramoah.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday the team is still determining the outlook for quarterback Baker Mayfield and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Hunt, 26, was carted off in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals with a non-contact injury. Hunt started in place of Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb, who missed the game with a calf injury. Hunt was listed on the injury report last week with a calf injury and missed a practice.

Hunt had 14 carries for 66 yards and three catches for 12 yards before leaving. He has 361 yards rushing with five touchdowns on the season.

Owusu-Koramoah left Sunday’s loss with an ankle injury. Owusu-Koramoah was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, per NFL Network, an injury that generally takes 4-6 weeks. He was credited with eight tackles and a pass defensed before leaving.

Mayfield landed on his left (non-throwing) shoulder on a strip-sack in the third quarter. He was already playing with a partially torn labrum in that shoulder.

After two brief visits to the medical tent, Mayfield returned to the field, but with the game out of reach, he was pulled for the final five minutes and backup Case Keenum finished the game.

Beckham (shoulder) was screaming in pain on the sideline after being driven into the turf by two Cardinal defenders following a 17-yard reception. He finished the first half with two catches for 42 yards.

The Browns (3-3) have a quick turnaround with a game against the Denver Broncos (3-3) on Thursday in Cleveland.

–Field Level Media

Oct 17, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) catches a touchdown pass as Cleveland Browns free safety John Johnson (43) defends during the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals stay perfect with lopsided win over Browns

The Arizona Cardinals remained the lone unbeaten team in the NFL by rolling past the host Cleveland Browns 37-14 on Sunday.

Kyler Murray completed 20 of 30 passes for 229 yards and four touchdowns and DeAndre Hopkins hauled in a pair of scores as the Cardinals (6-0) cruised despite the absence of head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who missed the game to COVID-19 protocol. It was the Cardinals’ fifth straight win against the Browns (3-3).

Cleveland, which dropped its second straight, entered the game reeling from injuries and got more bad news throughout.

The Browns played without lead running back Nick Chubb and starting tackles Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills Jr. During the game, quarterback Baker Mayfield (shoulder), wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (shoulder) and running back Kareem Hunt (calf) all sustained injuries. Hunt did not return after his injury early in the fourth quarter.

Mayfield finished 19 of 28 for 234 yards and two touchdowns, but had three turnovers — two fumbles and an interception — and sat out the final five minutes. Donovan Peoples-Jones had four catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns.

The Browns had rushed for 150 or more yards in each of their first five games, but were held to 73 rushing yards on 19 carries. Cleveland finished with nine penalties for 88 yards and gave up five sacks.

Mayfield lost his second fumble of the day and J.J. Watt picked up his first sack of the year on the same play in the third quarter. The Cardinals cashed in the turnover with Murray’s 9-yard touchdown to Hopkins for a 30-14 lead.

Cleveland tried to answer, but a fourth-down pass from the Arizona 7-yard line was dropped by Beckham with 12:06 remaining.

Murray threw his fourth TD with 4:48 left on a 14-yard strike to A.J. Green.

The Cardinals dominated the first half and scored on each of their five possessions, but settled for a modest 23-14 lead at the break. Murray found Christian Kirk with a 21-yard touchdown pass to cap the first series, then dropped in a 13-yard score to Hopkins for a 14-0 lead with 14:49 left in the half.

Mayfield’s first sack-fumble and his interception to Arizona’s Robert Alford resulted in Matt Prater field goals of 36 and 51 yards for a 20-0 Cardinal lead with 9:29 left.

Mayfield got Cleveland on the board with an 11-yard touchdown to Peoples-Jones while Arizona added a third Prater field goal, from 33 yards out with 46 seconds left.

But Cleveland ended the half with Mayfield’s 57-yard Hail Mary that People-Jones hauled in to cut the margin to 23-14 at the break.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) catches the ball 
during warmups before the game against the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Odell Beckham Jr. returns after getting shoulder examined

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. briefly left Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals with an apparent right shoulder injury.

He visited the medical tent and then headed to the locker room in the second quarter but returned to the field in the third quarter.

Beckham was screaming in pain on the sideline after being driven into the turf by two Cardinal defenders following a 17-yard reception.

He finished the first half with two catches for 42 yards.

–Field Level Media

Browns defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett get ready for the start of practice on Wednesday, August 4, 2021 in Berea, Ohio, at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. [Phil Masturzo/ Beacon Journal]

Browns 8 5 5

Browns DEs Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney return to practice

Cleveland’s extensive injury report improved a bit Thursday as Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney returned to practice, but the Browns were still without their backfield.

Garrett (knee, ankle) and Clowney (elbow, knee) were listed as limited in practice. Defensive end Takk McKinley (ankle, knee) also returned in limited fashion. Clowney missed the team’s Week 5 game.

Tight end David Njoku (knee) was also able to participate.

However, running backs Nick Chubb (calf) and Kareem Hunt (wrist, knee) both missed their second consecutive practice. Offensive linemen JC Tretter (knee), Jack Conklin (knee) and Jedrick Wills Jr. (ankle) also missed. Chubb is second in the NFL in rushing with 523 yards while Hunt has 295, good for 16th in the league.

Wills did practice Wednesday.

Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said Thursday he’s “not really sure” if Wills and Conklin, the starting tackles, would be able to play.

“Hopefully we can get them out (to practice) later in the week, but if not, it’s next-man-up mentality for us,” Van Pelt said.

Cornerbacks Denzel Ward (neck), Greg Newsome II (calf) and Greedy Williams (shoulder) all practiced Thursday but were limited.

The Browns (3-2) host the unbeaten Arizona Cardinals (5-0) on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (left) and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray exchange jerseys after Arizona Cardinals won 38-24 at State Farm Stadium December 15, 2019.Browns Vs Cardinals

Kyler Murray leads unbeaten Arizona in reunion with Baker Mayfield, Browns

Former No. 1 overall draft picks and college teammates, Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield, square off for the second time in three years when the undefeated Arizona Cardinals visit Cleveland to take on the Browns on Sunday.

Murray, the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft, is a leading MVP candidate. The Cardinals are off to a 5-0 start for the first time since 1974.

Mayfield, the 2017 Heisman winner and top pick in 2018, has helped position the Browns (3-2) as a division contender in the AFC North.

They were once on the same roster and in the same quarterback room at Oklahoma. Mayfield and Murray won the biggest individual trophy in the sport in back-to-back seasons.

“It’s always fun when we get together, when we were together,” Murray said. “The standard was the standard. “(Mayfield) gets a lot of hate or whatever, but I watched it firsthand each and every day. How hard he works, the throws he makes. I saw it all.”

The Cardinals are having more fun than the Browns at the moment.

Arizona is the NFL’s fourth-highest scoring offense (31.4 points per game) while giving up just 19.0 points per game. The differential (plus-12.4) trails only the Buffalo Bills in the entire league.

Murray completed 70 percent or better of his passes in four straight games, has 13 total touchdowns (10 passing) overall and ranks fourth in the league with a 113.0 passer rating. With proven targets in DeAndre Hopkins (312 receiving yards, 4 TDs) and A.J. Green, and dynamite rookie Rondale Moore, Murray and the Cardinals have been one of the league’s most entertaining offenses.

“(Murray) has all the bases covered,” Mayfield said. “Tremendous player. They’re playing at a high level right now.”

Offensively, so are the Browns. Mayfield posted season highs of 305 yards, two touchdowns, and a 122.5 rating last week, but Cleveland dropped an offense-fueled 47-42 decision at the Los Angeles Chargers.

It was the second road loss of the year for Cleveland, which has lost four straight against Arizona — including 38-24 in 2019 when the rookie Murray topped Mayfield in the desert.

Cleveland RB Nick Chubb is second in the NFL with 523 rushing yards, RB Kareem Hunt is second in the league with five rushing touchdowns, and DE Myles Garrett — the No. 1 overall pick in 2017 — leads the NFL with 7.0 sacks.

Garrett was nearly the last starter left standing for Cleveland’s defense at L.A as the Browns weathered an onslaught of injuries.

The Browns listed 17 players on the injury report Wednesday, including nine who did not participate. Among those out were Chubb (calf), Hunt (wrist/knee), Garrett (knee/ankle), DEs Jadeveon Clowney (knee/elbow) and Takkarist McKinley (ankle/knee), and starting OLs Jack Conklin (knee) and J.C. Tretter (knee).

Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski was upbeat about his personnel despite that list. WR Jarvis Landry, who has missed three games, even took part on a limited basis on Wednesday.

“With Jarvis, we’ll see where it goes,” Stefanski said. “We’re not ruling anyone out.”

The Cardinals lost TE Maxx Williams with a season-ending knee injury on Sunday, placed LB Ezekiel Turner (shoulder) on IR on Tuesday, and put OLB Chandler Jones (and his team-high 5.0 sacks) on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. Neither Turner nor starting center Rodney Hudson (ribs/shoulder) are expected to play this week.

The matchup figures to be one of the showcase games in the league. Murray said it’s just one of 17.

“There’s no stakes, it’s a regular season game,” he said. “Our mission is to go win, and so is theirs.”

–Field Level Media