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The Cleveland Browns might have to adjust their game plans going forward.
Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Mayfield is playing with a partially torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder that won’t require surgery.
Mayfield suffered the injury in Week 2 while making a tackle after an interception during a win over the Houston Texans.
“Obviously, not an ideal situation,” he told reporters after that game. “Trying to force him back inside. I think he realized it was me standing right there so he put his head down and ran right after me. It kind of popped in and out, but I will be good. Nothing too serious.”
Despite the injury, Mayfield was a full participant in practice leading up to Week 3 and hasn’t been listed on the injury report for the past two weeks.
Mayfield is off to a slow start in 2021. The Chicago Bears are the only team with fewer touchdown passes than Cleveland (two) through the first four weeks. He completed 15 of 33 attempts for 155 yards in the Browns’ 14-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4.
The 26-year-old has had an up-and-down career. After a promising rookie season, he struggled in 2019, throwing for 21 interceptions, taking 40 sacks and completing just 59.4 percent of his passes.
But he rebounded last year, finishing with 3,563 yards, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions, completing 62.8 percent of his passes while taking just 26 sacks and leading Cleveland to an 11-5 record.
Mayfield also helped the Browns end a playoff drought dating back to 2002 and knocked the divisional rival Pittsburgh Steelers out of the playoffs in the Wild Card Round. While the Kansas City Chiefs ended their season a week later, it was an excellent year for Cleveland, which came into the 2021 campaign as a Super Bowl contender.
All of that would go down the drain without the Oklahoma product at the helm, though. There are still questions about whether he’ll ever be a great quarterback or simply a good one, but Case Keenum would be a significant downgrade regardless.
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