Josh McCown's tales of torn ligament and bone through skin prove his toughness


BEREA, Ohio - Say this for new Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown: He is one tough Texan.

One of the stories that proves it illustrates why offensive coordinator John DeFilippo was so insistent on acquiring McCown as a free agent.

McCown was a member of the 2007 Oakland Raiders and DeFilippo was quarterbacks coach. In the week leading up to a game against Denver, McCown dislocated his left pinky finger catching passes from Andrew Walter after practice.

It was so bad the bone came through McCown’s skin.

“They had to tape these two together,” McCown said of his left ring and pinky finger. "… They fixed it, but I thought, ‘I’m not playing anyway.’”

The Raiders had Daunte Culpepper, JaMarcus Russell and Walter ahead of McCown.

But Culpepper pulled his hamstring running after practice.

“They didn’t want to start Jamarcus, and I went from four to one in the span of two days,” McCown said.

He still doesn’t know why he “leapfrogged” Walter, but he did.

With a dislocated finger and with one day of practice, McCown started against the Broncos.

“I practiced Friday, start and we beat Denver,” he said. “It was the dangedest thing.”

At this point, McCown laughs at the memory of the 34-20 victory in which McCown went 14-for-21 for 141 yards.

“I threw three touchdowns,” he said with a tone and laugh that indicated he is still amazed it happened. “It was the dangedest thing. I didn’t even practice.”

How did he manage?

“They shot it up, taped it up and they were like, ‘It’s your left pinky,’” McCown said.

That wasn't the only time McCown played with injury. Last season he missed five games with a torn ligament in his right thumb. He returned in November and played the final eight games.

“The ligament was torn off the bone of my thumb,” he said.

How did he play?

“Once you get rolling … you get into the game,” he said. “I really think it’s a little bit mind over matter. Typically, the energy and juice of the game gets you over it.”

Two things can be said about these McCown anecdotes:

  • He is one tough quarterback, and …

  • Any guy who uses the word “dangedest” twice to describe a game has to be OK.