AFC North: Colt McCoy

What a QB tale they've told

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
4:36
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The number 20 is special in many circles.

The 20th anniversary means a little more than the 16th, and a young man or woman who turns 20 feels a little more "adult."

[+] EnlargeJason Campbell
Mitch Stringer/USA TODAY SportsJason Campbell's play at quarterback is a key reason why the Browns are optimistic about making the AFC playoffs.
So when the Browns name their 20th starting quarterback since 1999 -- the year the team returned from a three-year hiatus -- it's worth taking a trip down memory lane (the screams in the background are from Browns fans whose memories are being jogged ... feel free to offer appropriate sympathies).

1999

  • Ty Detmer -- The plan to have him hold the fort lasted for one blowout loss, in the season opener against Pittsburgh.
  • Tim Couch -- The original No. 1 choice, had a couple of good years but not enough.
2000

  • Couch
  • Spergon Wynn -- Chris Palmer was lobbied to play him by the front office, and he produced two first downs in one game.
  • Doug Pederson -- Now Kansas City's offensive coordinator, started the Dennis Northcutt/Kevin Johnson quarterback game.
2001

  • Couch -- The only season when one quarterback started every game.
2002

  • Couch
  • Kelly Holcomb -- The year of the Dwayne Rudd helmet-removal game and the blown playoff game in Pittsburgh.
2003

  • Holcomb -- Incurred the "teeny-tiny break of a non-weight bearing bone in his leg."
  • Couch -- Late this season, Butch Davis told Couch he was his quarterback for years to come; Couch was released in the offseason.
2004

  • Jeff Garcia -- He never quite fit in, though he thinks he does now.
  • Holcomb
  • Luke McCown -- Interim coach Terry Robiskie admitted when McCown played, it was men against boys.
2005

  • Trent Dilfer -- Good guy, but chewed up by the Cleveland system always looking for the next guy.
  • Charlie Frye -- Had moments as a rookie until the Christmas Eve massacre against Pittsburgh.
2006
2007

  • Frye -- Traded after the Browns lost the season opener.
  • Anderson -- Had the best season of a Browns QB since 1999, won 10 games, but didn't win the game needed to make the playoffs.
2008

  • Anderson.
  • Brady Quinn -- The town was jubliant after Phil Savage traded up to get him and Joe Thomas in the first round.
  • Ken Dorsey -- At this point hopes were dimmed.
  • Bruce Gradkowski -- Signed to start the last game when everyone else was hurt.
2009

  • Quinn and Anderson -- Yo-yoed back and forth by Eric Mangini.
2010

  • Jake Delhomme -- Mike Holmgren's interim solution.
  • Seneca Wallace -- Holmgren's backup solution.
  • Colt McCoy -- Holmgren's drafted solution.
2011

  • McCoy -- The year he was put back in the game with a concussion in Pittsburgh.
  • Wallace
2012
2013

  • Weeden
  • Brian Hoyer -- Showed promise before unfortunate injury.
  • Campbell -- Passed over twice, now starting.
By now, everyone knows the Cleveland Browns agreed on a two-year contract with quarterback Brian Hoyer. The question that remains is Hoyer's role.

Hoyer
My take on Hoyer is he's a notch below backup quarterback Jason Campbell but probably better than most teams' No. 3. Unless Brandon Weeden struggles mightily in training camp and the preseason, the only spot Hoyer is competing for is the backup one.

Do I know this for certain? No. There's reason to think Hoyer will be given an opportunity to have a significant role, based on an old quote from Browns general manager Mike Lombardi when he was an NFL Network analyst. It was dug up by The Plain Dealer.

"I think Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett are starters," Lombardi said in December 2011. "I've said this many times: If I would have taken the GM job of the 49ers, I would have gone after Brian Hoyer, because I think he has all the traits and characteristics. If I were the Cleveland Browns, I'd rather have Brian Hoyer behind center than Colt McCoy. I think he's got all the traits you need, in terms of leadership, toughness, the arm strength, the ability to move the team."

Before there is a buzz about Hoyer battling for the starting job, you should consider two points: Head coach Rob Chudzinski will decide the starting quarterback for the Browns and this quote is 17 months old. Since Lombardi said this, Hoyer has made one career start and bounced from New England to Pittsburgh to Arizona.

His career numbers are one start, a 59.4 completion rate, 616 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Not exactly starting-quarterback statistics there. Also, if the Browns wanted Hoyer to be the starter, they would've traded a late-round pick for him during the draft (which was the speculation) instead of hoping he would get released.

Right now, the Browns are proceeding with Weeden, who took snaps with the first team for the second minicamp in a row.

"This means a lot to me," Weeden told reporters Thursday. "This is my job. I take it seriously and I want to be the guy."

If Weeden fails to be "the guy," I believe the next quarterback up is Campbell and not Hoyer.
Glad to be back after a short break. I thought this past week was going to be a quiet week in the AFC North but it certainly wasn't. The Baltimore Ravens signed another player from the Oakland Raiders. James Harrison is looking to resurface in the division. And the Pittsburgh Steelers decided not to let another wide receiver leave the fold. Unless other news breaks, I'll provide my thoughts on all the recent happenings in the division in one post before noon. As I play catch-up, here's your wake-up call ...

RAVENS: The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Cowherd believes you shouldn't bet against the Ravens when it comes to reclamation projects. The latest is Rolando McClain, the former Raiders linebacker and problem player. "There's a tipping point at which too many of them start to poison your team," Cowherd wrote. "But with so many solid citizens in their locker room, the Ravens can afford to take a chance on one or two quality players who go rogue and now seek redemption."

BENGALS: In addition to the Bengals trying to complete a deal with Harrison, the team has reportedly re-signed backup running back Bernard Scott and is close to an agreement with former Browns tight end Alex Smith, according to the team's official website. Scott said he is ahead of schedule in coming back from a season-ending knee injury. The Bengals are expected to take a running back in the draft later this month.

STEELERS: Pittsburgh matched the New England Patriots' one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, the team announced Sunday night. "Glad the business side is out of the way," Sanders wrote on Twitter. "Now its back to playing football and bringing number 7 back to Pittsburgh. Love!!! #Steelernation." If the Steelers didn't match, Pittsburgh would have received a third-round pick from the Patriots. I'll have a bigger post on Sanders coming shortly.

BROWNS: Quarterback Colt McCoy, who was traded to the 49ers on April 1, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that it didn't take him long to notice a difference between his new team and his old one. "When I walked in the building in San Francisco, it was the same feel [as at the University of Texas]," McCoy said. "It’s a great organization, and their only focus is: We want to win, and we want to win now. That’s obviously different than some of the things that I’ve been part of the last few years. I was really happy about that.” The Browns were 14-34 during McCoy's three seasons in Cleveland.

Ever since the Cleveland Browns drafted Brandon Weeden in the first round almost a year ago, ending Colt McCoy's 21-game run as a starter, there has been a debate about whether McCoy was given a fair shot with the Browns.

This isn't just an argument within the Browns' fan base. It's also an on-going dialogue with the media that covers the team. This was stirred up again this week when McCoy was traded to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday.

The Plain Dealer's Bill Livingston is among those who believe McCoy never got a real chance.

Livingston wrote: "For their part, the Browns sent McCoy out to play with an offense in which turnstiles could have replaced the offensive line, in order to better slow down the pass rush, always excepting left tackle Joe Thomas; in which drafted receivers could not get open; and in which the focus of the attack, Peyton Hillis, turned out to be a muscle-bound malingerer."

Vic Carucci of the Browns' official website thinks McCoy received a fair opportunity to start.

"I know all of the discussion about him not getting a sustained look with a better supporting cast than he had in 2011," Carucci wrote. "However, I think he received sufficient time as a starter to demonstrate that he has enough physical limitations, particularly with his arm, to fall short of what it takes to succeed in the No. 1 role. And this deal is additional proof that he’s in the right role as a backup."

You can make the case that the Browns gave up on McCoy too early based on statistics. In his first 15 starts (the same amount Weeden had last season), McCoy had a better completion rate, threw more touchdowns and produced a better passer rating. They even had identical 5-10 records.

But, when basing it on talent and not numbers, McCoy simply isn't a starting quarterback. He's an average backup at best. It's hard for McCoy's supporters to accept this because he has great intangibles. Hard worker. Tough. Likable. This doesn't take away the fact that he doesn't have the arm to throw the ball consistently downfield. Weeden had 48 completions over 20 yards in 15 games last season. McCoy needed 21 starts to reach that number.

When it comes to making the judgment call on McCoy, it's not about whether he got a fair shot or not with the Browns. He's just not a starter in this league. If he was, the Browns would've received more than a seventh-round pick for him.
Some Browns fans are upset that Colt McCoy was traded to the 49ers without getting a fair shot to start. Some Steelers fans are upset with me for saying you could make a case for giving Pittsburgh an 'F' for free agency this year. I obviously underestimated the impact of William Gay and Matt Spaeth. Believe me, I won't make that mistake again. But today is a new day. And, with every new day, you get a new wake-up call ...

RAVENS: The Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston believes the Ravens were never in a bidding war with Houston over safety Ed Reed. According to Preston, the Ravens made it seem that way out of respect for Reed, and it ultimately caused the Texans to pay him more. "Ravens coach John Harbaugh wanted Reed back as much as he wants a root canal," Preston wrote. "It was the perfect time for both parties to go their separate ways." Six days after Reed signed with the Texans, the Ravens signed Michael Huff to replace him.

BENGALS: Cornerback Terence Newman re-signed with the Bengals on Monday, but he nearly chose to go to the Raiders. "I honestly was very, very, very, very close to going to Oakland," he told Cincinnati reporters, via the team's official website. "For what I wanted and how I would expect my career to end -- if it is to end in two years -- (Cincinnati) is a football team that has made the playoffs the last two years. The defense played well. Looking at those things, I thought this was probably the best place for me."

STEELERS: It was about two weeks ago when team officials had dinner with Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray before his pro day. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette put a different spin on the reported meeting. "Did anyone think that maybe the braintrust wanted to subtly pick Bray’s brain about one of his receivers, Cordarrelle Patterson?," Bouchette wrote. Patterson is the second-best wide receiver in the draft, ranking only behind West Virginia's Tavon Austin. He is big (6-foot-3) and can stretch the field. The Steelers could take a wide receiver with the 17th overall pick because Mike Wallace is gone and Emmanuel Sanders is a free agent next season.

BROWNS: Only two players currently on the team's 63-man roster failed to report for the start of the Browns' offseason workouts, a source told the Akron Beacon Journal. Quarterback Colt McCoy, who was traded to the 49ers later Monday, was among those who showed up for the strength and conditioning phase of the offseason workout program, which lasts two weeks. “It was great to see the guys as a group for the first time,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said in a statement. “I was extremely pleased with the turnout. These next two weeks will be an opportunity for the players to get acclimated to our offseason program, spend some time getting to know each other and also to have some meeting time with their position coaches before having our first organized on-field work on April 16.”
The Cleveland Browns traded backup quarterback Colt McCoy to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday in what was a win-win for the Browns and their deposed starter. The Browns dealt McCoy and a sixth-round pick (173rd overall) in exchange for the 49ers' picks in the fifth (164th overall) and seventh rounds (227th overall), according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

McCoy
McCoy
This was more than what the Browns could have ever envisioned in getting rid of McCoy. The Browns essentially got to move up nine spots into the fifth round and added an extra seventh-rounder for McCoy, whom they were going to release (getting no compensation) if a trade didn't occur. McCoy had no chance of making the roster after Cleveland signed Jason Campbell last week.

McCoy is also a winner in this move. Like kicker Phil Dawson, McCoy gets to go from a perennial last-place team to a Super Bowl one. It's a nice reward for McCoy, who was a consummate professional even after the Browns drafted his replacement last year in Brandon Weeden.

It was a bad match when the Browns used a third-round pick on McCoy in 2010. He lacked a strong arm, which is a necessity to throw in the lakefront winds of Cleveland. McCoy went 6-15 as the Browns' starter.

McCoy's last start for the Browns was a historic one. In December 2011, he suffered a nasty concussion after James Harrison leveled him with a helmet-to-helmet hit. It led to Harrison becoming the first player to get suspended under the NFL's enhanced enforcement of player safety violations. It also caused the league to put independent neurologists at every NFL game to better monitor players with head injuries.

Now, McCoy gets a much-needed fresh start in San Francisco, where he will compete against Scott Tolzien to be the backup to Colin Kaepernick.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter believes Brandon Weeden still has the inside track to begin the season as the Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback, and Weeden should be considered the favorite. But, as I wrote last night, the signing of Jason Campbell makes this a legitimate quarterback competition.

In the big picture, Weeden needs to show he is the quarterback of the future this season. If Campbell beats him out, it likely means the end of Weeden and will force the Browns to look for another franchise quarterback early in the 2014 draft. Campbell isn't a long-term answer at quarterback, but he can be that stop-gap option for the next two years as the Browns sort out the position.

Schefter also brings up the point that Colt McCoy is the odd man out in Cleveland. McCoy's $2.3 million salary in 2013 makes it an easy decision for the Browns to part ways with him.

The Plain Dealer initially reported that McCoy would be released or traded soon. But the paper is now reporting the Browns have no immediate plans to trade him but would listen to offers. Either way, it's highly unlikely that McCoy will be on the Browns' roster when the season begins.
So, 53 days after owner Jimmy Haslam announced there would be a battle for the starting quarterback job, the Cleveland Browns finally brought in the competition for Brandon Weeden.

Campbell
Jason Campbell was signed to a two-year contract Tuesday night, the team announced. This is a good fit for the Browns because offensive coordinator Norv Turner wants to stretch the field and Campbell has a big arm, the best in a weak free-agent class.

Campbell, who was considered one of the top three quarterbacks available when free agency began, is a legitimate threat to Weeden because of his experience and ability to read defenses. Unlike last season, when no one really bought into Colt McCoy overtaking Weeden, the battle between Weeden and Campbell isn't for show.

The new regime of chief executive officer Joe Banner and coach Rob Chudzinski didn't draft Weeden, so it should be a more level playing field. Even if Campbell doesn't win the job, he'll push Weeden to play better. The signing of Campbell likely ends McCoy's Browns career.

This marks Campbell's fourth team in five years. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins, where he went 20-32 as a starter, and had success with the Oakland Raiders in 2011 before suffering a broken collarbone on a tackle by Browns linebackers Scott Fujita and Chris Gocong. In his only start last season for the Chicago Bears, Campbell struggled against the San Francisco 49ers, throwing for 107 yards and two interceptions.

“Jason is an established leader who has started a number of games in this league and has had success,” Chudzinski said in a statement. “He brings us a veteran presence and a good set of physical tools. He played in a similar system when he was in Oakland and that will help in his transition.”

Campbell, 31, is entering his ninth NFL season and is only two years older than Weeden. If Campbell beats out Weeden, he would become the 19th starting quarterback for the Browns since they returned to the NFL in 1999.
NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Welcome to Eight in the Box, an NFL Nation feature that will appear each Friday during the offseason. This week’s topic: Who will be each team’s biggest salary-cap casualty this offseason?

Baltimore Ravens: Fullback Vonta Leach. Some would say wide receiver Anquan Boldin, but he proved his worth in the playoffs. The better bet is Leach, who would free up $3 million in cap space. Leach is still the best at his position, but it's hard to justify paying him $3 million when he's only on the field for a quarter of the offensive plays. Center Matt Birk would also be a candidate, but he's expected to announce his retirement Friday.

Cincinnati Bengals: Cornerback Jason Allen. The Bengals have the most salary-cap space in the NFL, so they don't need to cut anyone. But the Bengals aren't going to pay unproductive players just because they have the cap room. Allen was injured for most of the season and managed to play in four games, including no starts. It doesn't seem likely that Cincinnati will pay a backup $3 million in 2013 plus a $700,000 roster bonus. Releasing Allen would create $3.7 million in cap space. Guard Travelle Wharton is another potential cut because the Bengals would gain $1.6 million in cap room.

Cleveland Browns: Quarterback Colt McCoy. Like the Bengals, the Browns have enough cap room that they don't have to cut anyone. But, just as defensive end Frostee Rucker (cut this month) didn't fit the new defense, McCoy doesn't have the strong arm needed in Norv Turner's downfield passing attack. Plus, McCoy's $2.3 million salary in 2013 makes it an easy decision to part ways.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Guard Willie Colon. The salary-cap strapped Steelers need to create a lot of space, and cutting Colon would free up $1.9 million. Pittsburgh wants to keep getting younger on the offensive line and has a couple of options for filling Colon's spot at left guard: move center Maurkice Pouncey there or start Kelvin Beachum. There's still a possibility that the Steelers will cut linebacker James Harrison. While this move would give Pittsburgh $5.1 million in cap room, I see the Steelers restructuring Harrison's contract because they're not confident Jason Worilds can step into a starting role.
It's media day at the Super Bowl, and I'll be covering this crazy event at the Superdome so you don't have to do so. Unfortunately, this conflicts with the introductory news conference for Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton. I will post something off of that as soon as I can, but it could be later in the afternoon. Now that you have the game plan, here's your wake-up call ...

RAVENS: Safety Ed Reed agrees with President Obama that football needs to be made safer. "I have a son. I am not forcing football on my son," he said. "If he wants to play it ... I can't make decisions for him. All I can do is say, 'Son, I played it so you don't have to.'" Reed, who has been playing with a nerve impingement in his neck, believes the league can do more to improve the health of players. "Every medical training room should be upgraded; training rooms can be a lot better," he said. "When you've got the president talking about it, you got something."

BENGALS: The 49ers' Colin Kaepernick is the first quarterback of the 2011 draft to reach the Super Bowl. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, who was drafted one spot ahead of Kaepernick in the second round that year, met him for the first time at the Manning passing camp in 2010. “He’s a little more quiet but he had one of the strongest arms in the camp,” Dalton told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “He can run well and can really read the zone schemes and different things.”

STEELERS: The Steelers have received permission from the Redskins to interview special teams coach and Pittsburgh native Danny Smith, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has coached the Redskins' special teams since 2004. The Steelers have a vacancy there because Mike Tomlin fired Al Everest in the preseason last year and assistant Amos Jones left to become the special teams coach for the Arizona Cardinals.

BROWNS: If the Browns want Colt McCoy to remain their backup quarterback, the cost to keep him has risen. McCoy's playing time and performance from his first two seasons have increased his 2013 base salary from the league minimum to $2.325 million, according to Yahoo! Sports. McCoy, who lost his starting job to Brandon Weeden in 2012, earned the league minimum $540,000 last season.
The Browns are down to third-string quarterback Thad Lewis after starter Brandon Weeden and backup Colt McCoy sat out Wednesday's practice with shoulder injuries.

This could be a case of history repeating itself.

The Browns faced an eerily similar scenario in 2008, when Cleveland was forced to start Bruce Gradkowski in the season finale at Pittsburgh after placing its top three quarterbacks -- Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson and Ken Dorsey -- all on injured reserve.

The result: the Browns lost 31-0. Gradkowski completed 5 of 16 passes for 18 yards with two interceptions. He didn't complete a pass for nearly 27 minutes and finished with a whopping 1.0 passer rating. General manager Phil Savage was fired immediately after the game and head coach Romeo Crennel was dismissed the next day.

Four years later, the Browns are dealing with another run of injuries at quarterback and uncertainty in the front office. Many expect the Browns to let general manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur go soon after the 2012 season ends.

If this is the end for this regime, there was improvement in the talent level even though it didn't translate in more wins. The Browns have a much better roster now than they did in January 2010, when Heckert took over.

Upon Further Review: Browns

December, 24, 2012
12/24/12
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Revisiting the Cleveland Browns' 34-12 loss at the Denver Broncos:

Another game, another sign of dissension in the Browns locker room.

A week after players questioned coach Pat Shurmur's playcalling, the Akron Beacon Journal reported some Browns players were angry and frustrated that Shurmur continued to call passing plays in the final two minutes with his team trailing by 22 points.

As a result, the Broncos' pass rushers were teeing off on Colt McCoy on the final (and meaningless) drive. Cleveland could have handed the ball off to a backup running back and ran the remaining time off the clock. Instead, the Browns gave up their fifth and sixth sacks of the game, but more importantly, Trent Richardson was injured in pass protection when McCoy's legs drove into the running back's ankle.

Asked if the Browns should have ran the ball at the end of the game, McCoy said: “That’s a question you can ask Pat [Shurmur], honestly. I took off a couple times because that was just the only thing to do.”

STAT THAT STICKS: 11 -- Number of double-digit loss seasons over the past 14 seasons, including five straight. That's 56 losses over the past five seasons.

OVERHEARD: [Our] record sucks. Everybody is disappointed. You lose a game and you try to explain why it happened. But we lost and we need to do better, and we just need to win. We can’t keep coming in here and talking to [the media] and saying, ‘This is what they did and this is how they did it.’ They just beat us. That is what it is getting down to. We need to make more plays on offense, defense and special teams to come out with a win.” -- Browns cornerback Joe Haden

WHAT'S NEXT: The Browns (5-10) close out the season at Pittsburgh (7-8). Cleveland is looking for its first sweep of Pittsburgh since 1988.

Wrap-up: Broncos 34, Browns 12

December, 23, 2012
12/23/12
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Here are my thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' 34-12 loss at the Denver Broncos:

What it means: The Browns are packing it in for coach Pat Shurmur, losing the past two weeks by a combined 39 points. Cleveland fell to 5-10, which is the ninth time in 10 years that the Browns have recorded double-digit losses. The Browns are now 1-6 on the road. Denver (12-3) won its 10th straight game.

Top picks injured: As the season continues to end on a sour note, the Browns watched their top two picks, running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden, leave the game with injuries. Richardson got his left leg rolled up on during Cleveland's final (and meaningless) drive. He's getting X-rays for a possible broken ankle. Weeden was knocked out of the game with a right shoulder injury in the third quarter, when Von Miller slammed him to the ground. Weeden told reporters after the game that he's fine.

More records for Richardson: Before leaving with that late injury, Richardson surpassed Jim Brown's franchise rookie rushing record with 53 yards on nine carries. That raised Richardson's season total to 950. Brown's mark of 947 was in a 12-game season in 1957.

Tough day for Brown: The Browns were down 14-3 by the second quarter, and cornerback Sheldon Brown had to be frustrated. Despite good coverage, Brown was beaten for touchdowns by Demaryius Thomas (22 yards) and Eric Decker (10 yards) in the first half. Then, before halftime, Brown was knocked out of the game with a concussion after colliding with Brandon Stokley. This depletes an already banged-up secondary.

McCoy gets some work: Backup quarterback Colt McCoy got his most playing time of the year and took advantage of it. McCoy produced the Browns' only touchdown drive of the game, moving them 80 yards on 10 plays. He converted a fourth-and-5 with a swing pass to Richardson and then hit Greg Little for a 6-yard touchdown pass. McCoy was 9-of-17 for 79 yards, and Weeden was 12-of-19 for 104 yards.

What's next: The Browns wrap up their season at Pittsburgh.
Brandon Weeden said he begged doctors in the locker room to let him return to the sidelines to watch the final minutes of the Browns' 20-14 win over the Steelers.

"Of course, they wouldn't let me," Weeden said, via The Plain Dealer. "It was so frustrating. I tried, but I was disappointed by it. I wanted to finish that one."

[+] EnlargeColt McCoy
Charles LeClaire/US PresswireDespite taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from James Harrison that resulted in a concussion, Colt McCoy was allowed back into the game against the Steelers last December.
There was no chance of that happening, especially after what the Browns went through last year with the Colt McCoy controversy. It was nearly a year ago when McCoy wasn't checked on the sideline for a concussion after he took an illegal hit from Steelers linebacker James Harrison and was allowed to return to the game. That led to the NFL assigning independent trainers at every game to assist in spotting and checking for concussions.

The Browns showed that they learned their lesson Sunday after Weeden was thrown down by linebacker Jason Worilds and banged his head on Joe Thomas' leg. Weeden said he was given all of the mandated tests once he came off the field. The Browns even hid his helmet to keep him from returning to the game. They were making sure there wasn't a repeat of what happened last season.

"I never want to come out of a game," Weeden said. "I'm too competitive and I felt like I'd been hit a lot harder. I felt like I could still play. We were just talking about what we were thinking about for the next series and next thing I know I'm walking to the locker room."

Weeden said this was his first concussion and described it as mild. He never was knocked out but felt "a little foggy."

"They were smart and took me back there [to the locker room] and did all the mandated tests," Weeden said. "Once I got back there, I was like, 'I just don't feel 100 percent.'"

Weeden has since been cleared by doctors and is scheduled to start Sunday in Oakland.

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