Baker Mayfield is in the midst of the most important season of his young NFL career.
The Cleveland Browns quarterback wants a contract extension and decided to stay patient and let his play do the talking in 2021.
That has not gone well so far.
The Browns were embarrassed Sunday at home by the Arizona Cardinals and to make matters worse, Mayfield aggravated an already painful injury.
He is wearing a harness on his left shoulder due to a partial tear of his labrum.
So it was not ideal Sunday when the same shoulder seemed to pop out of place once again.
The Browns are now on a short week and even though Mayfield showed up to the postgame press conference in a sling, he is planning to play through the pain.
From @GMFB: #Browns QB Baker Mayfield is planning to play through his still-ailing left shoulder (labral tear), while Cleveland may be without its two top RBs — Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt — for Thursday night. pic.twitter.com/fQivshFSqo
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 18, 2021
A Worst-Case Scenario
Having a short week is the worst thing that could have happened to the Browns right now.
The game is at least at home, and against a Denver Broncos team that has been fading as of late.
But the Browns now have an injured quarterback, may still be without both top offensive tackles, and may also be without arguably the best running back duo in the NFL.
Add in a defense that has gotten torched over the past two weeks and fans are likely worried and panicking about what is to come.
Injuries are a big part of the NFL.
That is no surprise from year to year.
But losing so many key contributors early in the season could mean the difference between being a Super Bowl contender and a pretender.
One Snap At A Time
Mayfield’s injury is to his non-throwing shoulder, which is why wearing a harness has allowed him to play through the pain.
Baker’s left arm in a sling pic.twitter.com/e1nBtQLrvc
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) October 17, 2021
If this is truly a pain tolerance situation, he will just have to take it a snap at a time Thursday night.
And if it becomes too much to bear, the Browns can go with Case Keenum.
Mayfield would do no good on the field if he is in too much pain to do his job effectively.
These are not the conversations Browns fans wanted to have at this point in the season.
Unfortunately, the noise is not going away anytime soon.