PITTSBURGH — Ever since he suffered a torn labrum in the Cleveland Browns' Week 2 win over the Houston Texans, Baker Mayfield has insisted that he would continue to play -- even in situations where he ultimately couldn't.
But following the Browns' 26-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Cleveland's quarterback was singing a different tune, stating that he's unsure whether he'll be playing in next week's regular-season finale vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.
"That will be a discussion I have with my agent and my family," Mayfield said, one day after the now 7-9 Browns were officially eliminated from playoff contention Sunday. "I don't have that answer for you right now."
Asked if he was glad he wasn't pulled from Cleveland's Week 17 loss, in which he was sacked nine times, the 26-year-old signal-caller said: "I'm an extremely competitive guy, I think you guys know that. But now it's time for me to start looking at what's in the best interest for me and my health. I've continued to lay it out on the line when I haven't been healthy. I tried to fight for our guys. Right now I'm pretty damn beat up, to be honest with you. There's no way around it. I gave it everything I had tonight."
It would be superfluous to note that Mayfield didn't say that the Browns would have a say in whether he'd play on Sunday, which one could consider an indication of the state of the relationship between the team and player. The No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, Mayfield has been eligible for an extension since the start of last offseason and will enter the final season of his rookie contract in 2022.
Mayfield's uneven and injury-riddled performance has made a long-term extension between the two sides even less likely, putting Cleveland in the position of having to consider its quarterback situation in the months ahead. Mayfield also appears to be frustrated with his own situation, as evidenced by comments he made on Monday about the way he's been used this season.
“Do I believe I could play better? Absolutely," he said. "Do I believe there’s positions that we as an offense could’ve been put in that would’ve been better? Absolutely."
Mayfield also confirmed that he will have shoulder surgery on the torn labrum in his left shoulder and that he intends to be 100 percent by the start of the 2022 season.