Browns’ Mayfield expects to play despite shoulder injury

Denver Broncos

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Baker Mayfield wants to tough it out.

The Browns quarterback said he expects to play Thursday night against the Denver Broncos despite a painful left shoulder injury that has worsened since he hurt it a month ago while trying to make a tackle.

Asked if he expects to play, Mayfield, who took part in the team’s morning walk-through, said, “I do.”

Mayfield, who re-injured his non-throwing shoulder Sunday, said it was still to be determined if he would practice.

Case Keenum is Cleveland’s backup and the 33-year-old veteran, who has 62 career NFL starts, will play if Mayfield feels he can’t go.

Mayfield has played the past four games with a complete tear of his left labrum suffered on Sept. 19. He’s wearing a harness to stabilize the shoulder, but that didn’t prevent it from twice popping out of the socket — once on a non-contact play — in a loss to Arizona on Sunday.

The 26-year-old Mayfield said it’s important for him to stay on the field.

“I think that sets the tone,” he said. “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, 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 is awaiting a second opinion on MRI results to assess the damage to his non-throwing shoulder, which he injured in Week 3.

Mayfield could benefit from taking a game off. After facing the Broncos on Thursday, Cleveland won’t play again until Oct. 31 against Pittsburgh and the added break would give Mayfield’s injury a chance to heal some.

Mayfield said that ultimately the decision on whether he plays will come down to being able to perform at his best — and that might not be possible right now. He’s planning to test his pain tolerance with hard throws.

“I think whenever we decide to give me some of these reps and throw the pads on and simulate these throws, these game throws. If I’m not able to do and be 100 percent, that’s where I’d be at.

“I have to make that 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, I get to say whether I’m able to play or not, and that’s just how it is.”

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