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Case Keenum to Start for Browns vs. Broncos; Baker Mayfield Out with Shoulder Injury

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVOctober 20, 2021

AP Photo/David Richard

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield will miss Thursday's Week 7 game against the Denver Broncos because of a shoulder injury. Case Keenum will start in his place.

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski announced the news Wednesday.

"Case Keenum will be our starter tomorrow night and we have full confidence in him to lead us and do the things necessary to put us in position to win," Stefanski said. "Baker fought really hard to play, he's a competitor and obviously wants to be out there but just couldn't make it on a short week. We know he will continue to do everything in his power to return as quickly as possible."

Mayfield, 26, has been playing through a torn labrum in his left shoulder, an injury he suffered during the Week 2 win over the Houston Texans. He was briefly forced to leave the team's Week 6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals for evaluation of the non-throwing shoulder after a hit but later returned.

"Feels like s--t," he told reporters after the Cardinals game.

Mayfield opened the year without having missed any games because of injury since entering the Browns' starting lineup in Week 3 of his rookie season.

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The 2018 first overall pick has completed 67.1 percent of his throws for 1,474 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions in six appearances in 2021.

Keenum, 33, gets the first crack at taking over the Cleveland offense. His last start came in 2019 with the Washington Football Team. Nick Mullens will likely be called up from the practice squad to fill the backup role.

The Browns came into the season with Super Bowl expectations after reaching the divisional round of the playoffs last year. It's hard to imagine the squad makes that type of postseason run if Mayfield isn't full strength by year's end.

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