Mayfield practices again, still unclear if he faces Steelers

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December 25 2021 12:00 am

BEREA, Ohio (AP)Baker Mayfield strapped on his shoulder pads Thursday. It’s too early to know if he’ll be able to do it again on Sunday.

The Browns’ starting quarterback practiced for the second straight day – and tested his injured shoulder while wearing pads and a new stabilizing harness – as he tries to get ready to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Mayfield sat out last week’s win over Denver with a torn labrum and fracture in his non-throwing shoulder, and backup Case Keenum led the Browns to a 17-14 win over the Broncos.

Mayfield made it through Wednesday’s practice without any difficulty, and he was again on the field Thursday – the only player wearing shoulder pads – as the Browns (4-3) continued preparing for the rival Steelers (3-3).

After stretching, Mayfield had two trainers help him slip on his pads and buckle up a harness that helps keep his shoulder from popping out. He threw several passes with plenty of velocity and looked fine while delivering throws on roll-outs during the portion of practice open to reporters.

There’s nothing wrong with Mayfield’s right arm. The concern is his pain tolerance and if he takes another hit to his damaged shoulder.

Earlier, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said Mayfield ”looked good” Wednesday, when he got most of the starter’s reps over Keenum.

”He’ll go today for sure and then we’ll determine later in the week how he’s feeling,” Van Pelt said. ”Obviously, it’s up to the doctors and the medical staff to determine whether he’s ready to go or not.”

Mayfield practiced early last week and intended to play against the Broncos, but couldn’t because of swelling, which limited his range of motion. Coach Kevin Stefanski ruled him out a day before the Denver game.

It’s possible Stefanski could do that again after Friday’s practice or keep things close to the vest and the Steeler in suspense until before kickoff.

The 26-year-old Mayfield initially hurt his shoulder on Sept. 19, played inconsistently for three weeks and then made the injury worse on Oct. 17, when he fell awkwardly and suffered a fracture to his humerus bone.

On Wednesday, Mayfield said sitting last week reduced the inflammation and he’s been able to do strengthening exercises

Van Pelt indicated that Thursday was an important step in determining if Mayfield will start or Keenum will replace him again.

”I think he’s feeling OK right now,” Van Pelt said. ”It’s just whether or not it’s healed up enough this week or not.”

Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who has been dealing with knee injuries, admires Mayfield’s determination to play.

”He’s been fighting to get back, trying to do everything possible, literally, to get back and it was good to see him back out there on the practice field, moving around, throwing the ball around and still taking it day by day.

”Obviously, it’s still an ongoing process of getting him feeling better, getting a lot of us feeling better but he’s handling it the right way. Like a pro.”

NOTES: Landry said ”for sure” he’ll play despite a knee injury suffered in the fourth quarter last week. The five-time Pro Bowler missed four games earlier this season with a sprained medial collateral ligament. … CB Denzel Ward (hamstring), DE Jadeveon Clowney (ankle/groin/knee) and WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (groin) didn’t practice. Center JC Tretter (knee) didn’t practice after doing so Wednesday and rookie S Richard LeCounte III (discipline) was out for the second day in a row.

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