Browns quickly running out of quarterbacks after McCown injury

Posted at 11:50 AM, Sep 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-19 11:54:57-04

His left arm hanging to his side, Josh McCown's eyes filled with tears as he talked about wanting to stay on the field for the Browns.

McCown was badly bruised and beaten.

And just two weeks into the season, Cleveland's quarterback situation is beyond battered.

Filling in for injured starter Robert Griffin III, McCown sustained a shoulder injury during a 25-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Although he stayed in despite being in pain, McCown couldn't lift his left arm and walked to the trainer's room following his news conference with it pinned to his side.

McCown said his plan is to play next week at Miami, but he would not divulge any test results or what he's been told by the medical staff, a sign that his injury could require him to miss some time.

"We will see," he said. "My mindset is that everything will be all right and we will move ahead business as usual."

But business, as it relates to quarterbacks in Cleveland, is anything but usual.

After losing Griffin for at least eight games with a broken bone in his left shoulder, the Browns (0-2) felt fortunate to have the 37-year-old McCown to run their offense.

However, now they may be forced to turn their offense over to rookie Cody Kessler next week or sign a more experienced quarterback.

Making matters worse, the Browns said starting center Cam Erving suffered a bruised lung and will be held overnight at University Hospitals for observation. Erving, who was taken from FirstEnergy Stadium in an ambulance, will likely miss several games.

This was not part of the plan during the offseason, when Cleveland's new front office passed on a chance to take one of the top quarterbacks in the draft and decided to sign Griffin, who flamed out in Washington. Griffin, though, couldn't make it past Week 1 and now McCown's injury has Cleveland in a difficult predicament.

It's been par for the course for an organization which has had 25 starting quarterbacks since 1999 and is undergoing the most massive rebuild in its history.

The Browns have made bad decisions, no doubt. But they've also been plagued by bad luck.

McCown had just thrown his second touchdown pass of the first quarter, giving Cleveland a stunning 20-0 lead, when he immediately ran to the locker room for evaluation.

As Kessler was warming up on the sideline, McCown came back and returned to the game without missing a play.

"I think it is just not wanting to not be out there with your guys," said McCown, who became emotional while explaining his ability to push through injuries.

"I have a dad and an older brother who get up and go to work and sometimes they don't feel great and they go. They go and they grind. I have two little boys that are playing football now. They get hit and they get banged up, and I am trying to teach them what toughness means.

"For me, it is those things and just knowing the window for me right now and understanding that I don't want to miss snaps. I don't want to be out there without my guys.

"Unless it is going to fall off, let's try to make it work and make it go. That is my mentality."

McCown didn't have anything to prove to his teammates, who have expressed their respect for him countless times in the past.

Still, the sight of him taking hard hits and getting back up time after time furthered their admiration for him.

"We have to do everything we can to give him an extra second, an extra two seconds, strain, fight a little bit more to where he's not getting hit, not taking those unnecessary shots," guard John Greco said.

"There were a lot of plays where the ball got off, may have been a completion or incompletion, and then he's getting whacked. So we've got to do more. We've got to fight harder, strain more, strain longer to keep him clean. The guy's arm is hanging and he's in there. I mean that's awesome."