CLEVELAND — Despite emerging from the postgame locker room Sunday wearing a sling on his non-throwing left shoulder, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield vowed to play Thursday against the Denver Broncos.
“Feels like s—,” Mayfield said of his injured shoulder before answering, “Yes,” when asked whether he believed he would still be able to play despite the short week.
Mayfield is scheduled to have an MRI on the shoulder Monday.
During Cleveland’s 37-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Mayfield aggravated the partially torn labrum he suffered on Sept. 19. In the third quarter, Mayfield scrambled left while trying to evade Cardinals pass-rusher J.J. Watt, who drove Mayfield’s left shoulder in the ground. The play resulted in a fumble that Arizona linebacker Devon Kennard recovered. Mayfield stayed down on the ground for several minutes, although afterward he said the initial aggravation came earlier on the drive when his shoulder popped out during a noncontact play.
Mayfield, who has been playing with a harness on the shoulder, said this felt worse than when he injured the shoulder in Week. 2
“Just got to figure out a way to get better,” Mayfield said.
Mayfield turned the ball over three times in Cleveland’s second consecutive loss, the Browns’ first back-to-back losses under second-year coach Kevin Stefanski. Those three turnovers led to a combined 13 Arizona points, helping ignite the route. Mayfield did throw for two touchdowns, including a Hail Mary as time expired at the end of the first half. Cleveland, however, failed to score in the second half as Arizona pulled away.
The Browns are now 3-3 and dealing with multiple other injuries. Minus starting offensive tackles Jedrick Wills Jr. and Jack Conklin, the Browns struggled to protect Mayfield, who was sacked five times, including once on a fourth-down attempt in the red zone.
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. also had to leave the game temporarily with a right shoulder injury, and running back Kareem Hunt had to be carted off the field with a calf injury. The Browns already were without Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb, who suffered a knee injury last weekend.
Cleveland has not lost three consecutive games since 2019, when the Browns dropped three in a row to end the season on the way to a 6-10 finish, resulting in front-office and coaching changes.
“It’s a huge challenge, short week, and we’ve got a bunch of guys banged up right now, but we have to be able to bounce back and respond,” Mayfield said of the Denver game. “We’re going to see what we’re made of. Our backs are against the wall right now. And I like our chances.”