Cleveland Browns starting quarterback Baker Mayfield won't face Bengals in Cleveland

Dave Clark
Cincinnati Enquirer
Cleveland Browns guard Wyatt Teller (77) and offensive tackle James Hudson (66) pick up quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) after Mayfield was sacked by the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half an NFL football game, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Cleveland Browns starting quarterback Baker Mayfield won't play in Sunday's Week 18 against the AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals in Cleveland, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters Tuesday.

Mayfield, placed Wednesday on injured reserve, is expected to undergo surgery on the torn labrum in his left, non-throwing shoulder “as soon as possible,” Stefanski said.

The Browns found out Sunday evening that they officially were eliminated from playoff contention.

"Baker won't play in this last game," Stefanski said. "We're going to hold him out. We're going to get surgery scheduled really as soon as possible so that he can get back healthy as soon as possible. ... Throughout this whole thing, we have tried to make the right decision based on all the information available to us, constant dialogue with our medical staff, with Baker, all those type of things, and throughout have really felt comfortable based on all that information that he was able to play and those type of things."

Mayfield said after the Browns' loss Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers to fall to 7-9 this season that he would talk to his agents and family about whether he'd play in Cleveland's final game of the season.

Case Keenum, in his second season as the Browns' backup quarterback, is expected to start. Keenum won his only start earlier this season, a 17-14 victory against the Denver Broncos in Week 7 in which he completed 21-of-33 attempts for 199 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Keenum also has played for the Houston Texans, St. Louis and Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos and Washington Football Team since 2013.

Mayfield completed 14-of-21 attempts for 218 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the Browns' 41-16 win against the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in November. He's thrown 10 interceptions in Cleveland's six games since that win.

"I would not be shocked if last night was the last time Baker Mayfield plays for the Cleveland Browns. ... The regression this year from Baker was shocking," NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky said Tuesday on ESPN's "NFL Live."

During their ESPN2 broadcast of the "Monday Night Football" game between the Cleveland Browns and the Steelers in Pittsburgh, Peyton and Eli Manning talked about Stefanski not watching the Bengals' come-from-behind win against the Chiefs at Paul Brown Stadium, and how hot Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has been as of late.

Burrow - who broke Andy Dalton's franchise records for passing yardage and touchdowns in a season during Sunday's win - said he will not play against the Browns ahead of the playoffs but will practice this week.

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