Browns coach Pat Shurmur said the team will place linebacker Scott Fujita on injured reserve, but he doesn’t know whether Fujita will retire.
“I think retirement decisions, those are personal whether it’s coaches, players,” Shurmur said after speaking to Fujita this morning. “I think those are discussions you have with your loved ones about is it time. For a player, sometimes that decision’s made for you. If you’re no longer on a roster and you don’t get picked up, eventually it kind of sets in. I think we all want to be in control of our own situations. I think that’s fair to say, but I think it’s fair to say that most of us aren’t. I think that’s the reality of it.”
Either way, Fujita’s tumultuous 2012 season has come to an end as a result of the neck injury that sidelined him in each of the past two games. Fujita has spent most of this year fighting for his reputation after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell implicated him in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal, suspended him three games and later reduced the ban to one game.
Fujita hasn’t played since Oct. 7, when the Browns lost to the New York Giants on the road. Fujita played in four games this season, tallying 14 tackles and a sack. Rookie James-Michael Johnson has replaced Fujita as the team’s starting strongside linebacker.
Big man back
Defensive tackle Phil Taylor will practice today for the first time this season, but Shurmur said there’s “very little” chance Taylor will be able to play Sunday when the Browns (1-6) host the San Diego Chargers (3-3).
The Browns now have a 21-day window in which they must activate the 6-foot-3, 335-pound Taylor or declare him out for the season. Taylor, the 21st overall pick in last year’s draft, has spent all season on the physically unable to perform list while rehabilitating from a torn left pectoral muscle he suffered while lifting weights in May.
“It’s not unique for a guy to come back at this point in the season,” Shurmur said. “We’ve just got to watch him work. We’ve gotta get him out there, let him practice, get him first into the swing of things and then step up the workload. It’s reasonable to think [he could play] maybe next week or the week after. Of course, we’ve got a bye [Nov. 11], so we’ll see.”
Continuing to work
Rookie running back Trent Richardson participated in the team’s walk through this morning and will practice this afternoon, Shurmur said.
Richardson played through his rib injury Sunday in the Browns’ 17-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts until Shurmur benched him in the second quarter. Richardson, the third overall pick in this year’s draft, had eight carries for just 8 yards.
Shurmur said he’ll continue to monitor Richardson to determine whether he’ll play Sunday.
“If he’s healthy to play, he plays,” Shurmur said. “And if they tell me that he’s at no risk to hurt it further, then we’re playing ball. As I watch him in practice, just like we watched him in the game, if we feel like [resting him is] something that we can and should do, then we’ll do it. Otherwise we’re getting him ready to play.”
Shurmur said he does not regret allowing Richardson to play Sunday.
“We wanted him to compete, and he competed in there for about a half,” Shurmur said. “I was watching him every step of the way. I don’t think it [would have been] wise to keep him out. He didn’t re-injure himself. Had he re-injured himself or set himself back, then I would have second thoughts, but that wasn’t the case.
“He’s a competitor, he wants to out there and no matter how he feels, he’s gonna try to convince me to go out there. So I just know that when I go into that decision making about whether he should or shouldn’t be [playing].”
Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in this year’s draft, will serve as the Browns’ fourth captain Sunday, Shurmur said.