BEREA, Ohio — The Cleveland Browns are in their second day of preparation for their matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they’re doing so with their starting quarterback back in the mix and returning to practice.
Baker Mayfield returned to practice Wednesday, working through the shoulder pain stemming from his ongoing injury.
Head coach Kevin Stefanski said Mayfield would practice regularly with Case Keenum getting a few starting reps like a typical Wednesday session.
Before practice, Mayfield said that he was taking things "day by day" but said that he “absolutely" has a chance to play on Sunday against the Steelers.
"I said it last week: if I’m not able to be close to 100 % or help this team, if I’m in a situation where I’m going to hurt the team, I’m not going to go so that’s where we're at and that’s what we evaluated," Mayfield said.
Mayfield was sidelined Thursday against the Denver Broncos with a left shoulder injury he sustained in Week 2 and made worse in Week 6.
He initially injured his non-throwing shoulder on Sept. 19 when the Browns took on the Houston Texans. Mayfield was attempting to throw to rookie wide receiver Anthony Schwartz, who appeared to stop his route prematurely, allowing the Texans to intercept the ball.
While trying to make a tackle, Mayfield appeared to injure his shoulder and was down on the field before trainers ran out to evaluate him. Mayfield headed into the medical tent and then went back to the locker room. But shortly after, Mayfield ran back from the locker room to the sideline, putting his helmet on and prepping to go back into the game.
Mayfield described the injury as his shoulder having “popped in and out."
The injury was exacerbated against the Arizona Cardinals when he was sacked by defensive end J.J. Watt. Mayfield eventually got up and walked off the field under his own power and entered the medical tent on the sideline. After leaving and heading back in multiple times, Mayfield put on his helmet and returned to the game.
After the game, Mayfield came out to the press conference wearing a sling and said his left shoulder dislocated on the hit and then later popped in and out on a non-contact play in the game after he returned to the field.
The Browns monitored Mayfield and observed him as a limited participant in a practice session before ruling him out against the Broncos and announcing backup quarterback Case Keenum would get the start. Then, on Thursday, a report came out from NFL Fox's Jay Glazer that Mayfield is dealing with a fractured humerus bone in addition to the torn labrum in his left shoulder.
After the game, head coach Kevin Stefanski was asked about the report and while he declined to get into the specifics of Mayfield’s injury, said that it would not change the trajectory for his return to the field—even giving him a chance to play against the Steelers.
“Of course there is a chance for all of it, but it is too far away to give you a good number,” Stefanski said. “He is another guy who is fighting, and he will be back out there as soon as he can.”
Mayfield said that the time off from practice and Thursday's game made a noticeable difference in his shoulder and will return when ready.
“It definitely did, a noticeable difference in range of motion and strength. So like I said, take it day by day and see where we’re at," Mayfield said. "I mean, yeah, I’m not exactly a doctor, I don’t know how long it takes for those things to heal, but it was mostly about the inflammation so I can get the range of motion and that strength back. That’s where we’re at and that’s where we’re continuing to evaluate.”
But the quarterback made it clear that he isn't listening to any outside noise when it comes to if he should sit or not.
"People talk on the outside. They don't know how I feel nor do they decide whether I can go or not,” Mayfield said. “I think I'm still taking it day by day to be honest with you because you can do certain things to repair the stuff inside the rotator cuff and strengthen it up. If you examined a lot of people's shoulders, you'd see a lot of partial tears in those labrums. So you can do things to I guess help with that, but we'll evaluate that when the time needs.”
Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.