Browns QB Baker Mayfield reveals left labrum has been completely torn since Week 2, still expects to play Thursday

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BEREA, Ohio — Baker Mayfield's left shoulder injury is more severe than he or the Browns (3-3) had previously let on, but the quarterback still expects to play in Thursday night's home game against the Denver Broncos (3-3).

Mayfield said Tuesday he not only plans to face the Broncos, but he also insisted whether he plays will be his 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," Mayfield said in a pre-practice news conference. "I get to say whether I’m able to play or not, and that’s just how it is."

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski was asked whether it is indeed Mayfield's decision.

"With Baker, with all of our players, they have significant input in these decisions because it is their body," Stefanski said. "I just rely on what they say, I rely on the medical staff when making those determinations."

Asked whether the medical staff has advised Mayfield to sit out Thursday, Stefanski said, "I don't think we're far enough into the week to make that call."

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Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski touches the helmet of quarterback Baker Mayfield after an injury during the second half against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski touches the helmet of quarterback Baker Mayfield after an injury during the second half against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

Stefanski said Mayfield would participate in practice Tuesday afternoon on a limited basis.

Does Stefanski expect Mayfield to play Thursday?

"I think you guys know Baker," Stefanski said. "He's a fighter. He's as tough as they come. I expect him to fight like crazy to get to Thursday. I think that's a great message to our entire team, and we've talked about that as a team. For these Thursday night games, you've got to fight, scratch and claw because it's hard, but it's hard on both teams."

Stefanski said the decision on whether Mayfield or backup quarterback Case Keenum will start versus the Broncos will be made "over the next 48 hours."

"He's a pro," Stefanski said of Keenum. "He'll be ready if we need him."

Mayfield participated in a walk-through session Tuesday morning. He said he would simulate game-type throws while donning shoulder pads to determine whether he can play this week in prime time.

Mayfield said it's important for him to play because he believes "that sets the tone" for the Browns.

"Obviously, if I was in a physical state where I wasn't able to play to the best of my abilities and I was hurting the team, I wouldn't do that because I care about winning, and I want to give this team the best position to do that," Mayfield said. "So I want to be out there. I want to get healthy. I want to do all that, so that's what it's about."

Mayfield conceded his injured non-throwing shoulder is in worse shape after it dislocated in the third quarter of Sunday's 37-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals when he crashed to the ground on a J.J. Watt sack.

Mayfield's left shoulder has been a problem since it popped out Sept. 19 against the Houston Texans when he attempted to make a tackle on an interception return. He has been wearing a harness since then.

For the first time, Mayfield publicly disclosed the labrum was torn completely, not partially, back in Week 2.

“From Week 2, it was actually completely torn," Mayfield said. "There was other stuff that was frayed within. So it's just one of those things. With shoulder injuries like that, you try and stabilize. You strengthen the muscles and ligaments around it to where you feel that stability and it doesn't have the likelihood of popping out nearly as much, so that's where I'm at right now.”

"On a fall like the game Sunday [against the 6-0 Cardinals], I mean, anybody's shoulder probably would have popped out how I feel, so it just was kind of a freak deal."

Mayfield underwent an MRI on Monday. He sought a second medical opinion, with a specialist viewing the images on Tuesday, a person familiar with the situation confirmed.

Mayfield said the MRI showed the shoulder had been damaged more in Sunday's game than it had been in Week 2.

"It wasn’t ideal by any means," he said. "I’m not going to get into details, but, yeah, it’s not the same."

Mayfield said the shoulder felt better Tuesday than it did Monday.

"Trying to get the inflammation down and see where it goes," he said.

Mayfield said he doesn't know whether he'll need surgery on the shoulder at some point. Either way, he'll need to be on high alert whenever he's on the field.

"I just think I've got to be more conscious on any scramble drills, not taking extra shots that are unnecessary, just protecting myself for longevity-wise for my career," he said.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Baker Mayfield injury: Browns QB expects to play despite torn labrum

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