The Cleveland Browns took Baker Mayfield off the injury report on Friday, paving the way for him to play against the Steelers. But…why?
The Browns are hosting the underdog Pittsburgh Steelers at home on Sunday afternoon, with or without Baker Mayfield. While the former No. 1 overall pick seems inclined to play given his practice reps, is it really necessary to throw him to the wolves against a division rival?
“I said it last week, if I feel like I’m not able to be close to 100 percent and be able to help this team and if I’m in a situation where I’m going to hurt the team, I’m not going to go.” Mayfield said Wednesday. “I think you guys know how I am. I want to be out there playing.”
Source: #Browns QB Baker Mayfield received medical clearance last night to play and is expected to start Sunday, despite a torn left labrum & shoulder fracture. With full range of motion in his shoulder & his strength back, the medical decision was made. The fracture is healing.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 29, 2021
Stefanski proved willing to start Baker on Friday, as he revealed to the media that he’ll take Mayfield at his word.
Baker Mayfield injury report: Browns QB to start
With a win, Mayfield would become the first Browns quarterback to defeat the Steelers three straight times since Bernie Kosar. That’s Cleveland royalty, and he’ll be favored to do it.
Without Mayfield last time out, the Browns were able to defeat the Denver Broncos with Case Keenum taking the snaps. Were Keenum to play on Sunday, a Browns run-centric approach would’ve still put them in a good spot to defeat the Steelers, whose defense struggled to stop the Seahawks rushing attack with Alex Collins taking the carries, and Geno Smith behind center.
And that was a home game for Pittsburgh.
Hopefully, for the Browns sake, Mayfield won’t re-aggravate his shoulder injury on Sunday, or take any unnecessary hits from T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward or any other Steelers defensive stalwarts who have haunted the Browns for years.
We just hope it’s worth the risk.