"I don't expect him to play this year. We did not draft him to play this year."
With those words, Cleveland Browns President, Mike Holmgren, condemned the former Texas quarterback to a seat on the bench throughout 2010.
"I am completely comfortable with a quarterback coming in and spending time to develop his craft," Browns head coach Eric Mangini added.
The 2010 season started out according to plan—Jake Delhomme, the wily old veteran at the helm, and Seneca Wallace, the dependable backup at the ready.
One game in and one loss to Tampa Bay later, Delhomme fell victim to a high ankle sprain.
The plan didn't change—enter Seneca Wallace.
Three games went by without incident until—believe it or not—another high ankle sprain forced Seneca to the sideline during a game with the Atlanta Falcons.
Sometimes plans change, but this time they didn't—enter a less than 100% Delhomme to finish out the game.
As fate would have it Delhomme re-aggravated his ankle by coming back too soon.
Welcome to the NFL Colt McCoy.
Posting a 2-3 record in five games, while keeping all three losses close, McCoy performed admirably in the absence of Wallace and Delhomme.
Then, amazingly enough, it was reported that Colt McCoy suffered a high-ankle sprain of his own in the loss against Jacksonville.
Back to Plan A—Jake Delhomme narrowly pulls off a win against the owners of the worst record in the NFL, the Carolina Panthers.
Guess what?—we have a quarterback controversy brewing in Cleveland.
And while Delhomme is a seasoned veteran, most Browns fans are now asking "how soon can Colt return?"
"We're closer (with McCoy)," coach Eric Mangini said. "From where we were last week to where we are now, he's made a pretty good jump."
The smart answer on Colt's return?—2011.
In one month's time, the Browns will face the bruising Baltimore Ravens.
After that?—the physical Pittsburgh Steelers.
A high-ankle sprain is much more serious than people think.
A high sprain can take three to four months to completely heal and, even worse, an improperly treated sprain can extend the normal recover time to 12-18 months.
Let's be real here, at 4-7 the Browns are not making the playoffs, even if they run the table.
Why risk the ankle of the future starting quarterback?
Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace can split the load for the rest of the year, and Cleveland can further develop their diamond in the rough without exposing him to Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis, James Farrior, and James Harrison in the coming weeks.