BEREA, Ohio — The Browns will certainly be playing their archrivals in the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday, but one huge uncertainty remains: the status of their starting quarterback.
Those questions only multiplied Monday, when Baker Mayfield sat out practice in Berea as he continues to nurse his injured left shoulder. The former No. 1 overall pick did not play in last Thursday's win over the Denver Broncos, and head coach Kevin Stefanski still can't give a definitive answer regarding his availability in Week 8.
"We will see," Stefanski said after practice, a phrase he repeated multiple times. "He is getting his work in, but I am not going to comment on roster status and that type of thing."
Mayfield first hurt his shoulder back in Week 2, when he suffered a partially torn labrum while attempting to make a tackle after an interception. He continued to play through the pain (telling reporters "I throw with my right"), but ended up completely tearing the ligament while being sacked in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals, and the 26-year-old later told Fox Sports' Jay Glazer he had sustained a fracture in his humerus bone, too.
"I need that fracture to heal for me to get back out there," Mayfield told Glazer four days ago.
Those fractures often take about 4-6 weeks to heal completely, which could potentially leave Mayfield out of action until at least mid-November. However, Stefanski has said there's "a chance" his QB could play against Pittsburgh, and claimed Monday that the fourth-year starter seemed to be improving.
"[He's doing] good," Stefanski told the media, although he was unsure if Mayfield's swelling has subsided enough for him to do strength exercises. "I think he is feeling better."
The Browns have been dealing with countless injuries over the last few weeks, with star running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt among those missing the Broncos game. On a brighter note, Chubb was back at practice Monday, as was All-Pro right tackle Jack Conklin.
"He has gotten a lot of work done these last couple of weeks," Stefanski said of Chubb. "He is feeling good. He is continuing to get rehab. I think he is excited to get back out there. We will see how it goes over the next couple days and see if he can [play Sunday]."
Left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. did play Thursday, and looks to be back at full strength after dealing with an ankle injury. Jarvis Landry appeared to be somewhat limited after reaggravating his sprained MCL late in the game, but Stefanski says the Pro Bowl receiver is "doing alright."
As for the Steelers? Stefanski knows what this game means to both the Browns and their fans, especially after Cleveland won last January's AFC wild card matchup in Pittsburgh.
"They are a very, very well-coached team, as they always are," the coach said. "Physical. They present challenges on offense, defense and special teams. We have to have a great work week to get ready to play those guys."