CLEVELAND — Speaking to reporters following the Cleveland Browns' 26-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday, Baker Mayfield hinted that he might not play vs. the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. It didn't take long for that decision to ultimately be made.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski announced that Mayfield will not play in the team's regular-season finale. Instead, the fourth-year signal-caller will undergo surgery "as soon as possible" in order to repair the torn labrum in his left shoulder.
Mayfield has been dealing with injuries to his left shoulder dating back to Cleveland's Week 2 win over the Houston Texans, when he suffered a torn labrum chasing down an interception. Mayfield later aggravated the injury taking a sack from Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt and ultimately missed the team's Week 7 victory vs. the Denver Broncos due to the injury.
For the bulk of the season, the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft wore a harness on his left shoulder on his injury to protect the injury. Be it a result of the injury or otherwise, Mayfield struggled through much of the 2021 season, with the Browns entering Sunday's finale with a 7-9 record and having already been eliminated from postseason contention.
Mayfield's struggles, as well as an apparent disconnect between himself and Cleveland's coaching staff, has led many to speculate that the Oklahoma product may have played his final game as the Browns' starting quarterback. Without a long-term extension in place, Mayfield will be entering the final season of his rookie contract in 2022.