BEREA: Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden is going through the process of being medically cleared from the concussion he suffered Sunday in the Browns’ 20-14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Coach Pat Shurmur said it’s too early to know whether Weeden will be able to play Sunday when the Browns (3-8) visit the Oakland Raiders (3-8). Weeden was at the team’s practice facility Monday, Shurmur said, but the Browns won’t practice again until Wednesday.
“It’s very strict protocol when it comes to concussions, and so we’ll go through the process and we’ll know way more on Wednesday,” Shurmur said. “I’m not making any predictions at this point.”
Backup quarterback Colt McCoy has not received much practice with the first-team offense this season, though Shurmur said he could be ready for the Raiders with a week of preparation. McCoy is much more familiar with Shurmur’s version of the West Coast offense than he was last season, when he went 4-9 as a starter.
“I have all the confidence in the world in Colt,” Shurmur said. “Colt has handled his situation this year in a very professional way. I don’t see any reason why he can’t go in and function well.”
Weeden suffered the concussion when his helmet smacked against the left leg of Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas as Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds pulled him down with 5:20 left in the fourth quarter. McCoy entered the game with three minutes remaining but did not throw a pass.
Weeden, 29, the 22nd overall pick in this year’s draft, wanted to re-enter the game after his injury occurred, but he wasn’t allowed. The Browns are sensitive to concussion protocol after the mishandling of McCoy’s concussion on Dec. 8, 2011, when he re-entered the game after absorbing a devastating helmet-to-helmet blow from Steelers linebacker James Harrison.
“Of course, we know there’s protocol,” Shurmur said. “We’re well aware of that, right?”
Shurmur did not specify whether he believes Weeden would need a full week of practice to play Sunday.
“Our quarterbacks’ styles are pretty similar,” Shurmur said. “So you put the plan together on how to attack Oakland, and then we’ll see who shows up to play.”
If Weeden can’t play, the Browns could summon quarterback Thaddeus Lewis from their practice squad to serve as McCoy’s backup.
QB of the future?
Outgoing Browns President Mike Holmgren believes Weeden “has a chance to be a very fine quarterback” in the NFL. But the new regime of owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner will evaluate Weeden at the end of the season and decide whether he should be considered the team’s long-term solution.
Holmgren doesn’t think the scenario bothers Weeden.
“Most of the players that come into the league, that’s not the first time they’ve heard something like that,” Holmgren said. “They’ve read about it and heard about it probably every day somewhere. So for a guy, particularly with a guy his age, 29, it’s not going to rattle him too much that way. And being as competitive as they are, they still have to produce on the field, and no one is going to hand them anything. And I think he absolutely realizes that, and it doesn’t have much effect on him.”
Coach, GM watch
Banner said the Browns’ win over the Steelers won’t necessarily strengthen Shurmur’s chances of saving his job.
“It’s not going to be that kind of a micro-decision,” Banner said. “So we’re really still focused on, as we’ve said, these qualities that we’re looking for that will lead to long-term success and trying to keep the evaluation on that level.”
Shurmur and General Manager Tom Heckert have expressed their desire to stay with the Browns, Banner said.
“I’ve met with both of them and there’s no question that they feel very good about what they’ve done,” Banner said. “And they’d very much like the opportunity to see it through.”
Banner said he made the call to cancel the inflatable white flag giveaway before the game Sunday. On Saturday, the Browns announced their decision to scrap their promotion with Ticketmaster because it received widespread criticism. After all, white flags symbolize surrender.
“The last thing we want to do is have somebody or people even think that we’re sending any kind of message like that,” Banner said. “I don’t think there’s any way anybody watching this team or meeting people who work here for a second could think there’s anybody surrendering now or ever will. But rather than trying to win that argument to prove that point, it seemed like it just made sense to not go ahead with that plan.”
Banner said the giveaway had been planned before he joined the Browns last month. But he also said he doesn’t believe it’s fair to call out the people who came up with the idea.
Browns rookie special teamer Tank Carder apologized Monday via Twitter for using an anti-gay slur in a tweet last week.
“I want to sincerely apologize for the word I used!” Carder wrote. “I did not in anyway mean to offend anyone! That tweet doesn’t define me as a person!”
The Browns have spoken to Carder about the incident, said Neal Gulkis, vice president of media relations, in a statement.
“These comments are certainly not reflective of the Cleveland Browns organization, nor do we condone them in any fashion,” Gulkis said. “We have spoken with Tank and have made this very clear to him.”
Shurmur said the Browns received a confidence boost from their recent win. “I don’t want to overstate it,” he said. “It’s one football game. But we played a physical team, and we found a way to finish. I think that’s something our young guys can build on.” … Rookie wide receiver Josh Cooper was a healthy scratch Sunday, Shurmur said.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at https://ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com.browns.abj