Browns' Mayfield has surgery, starts road to 'true self'
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) Baker Mayfield has shifted into comeback mode.
The Browns quarterback had successful surgery Wednesday to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, an injury that affected his play, led to a disappointing season and raised doubts about his future in Cleveland.
Mayfield posted a video on social media following the procedure, which was done in Los Angeles.
"Surgery went great," Mayfield said in the clip while sitting on a bed with his non-throwing arm in a sling. "It was a complete success. Had a great medical team. Took care of me and checked that box off to get this fixed, and now it's on the way to the road to recovery.
"This is one of those steps to get back to my true self."
The operation was performed by Dr. Orr Limpisvasti, the team physician for the Anaheim Ducks who examined Mayfield's shoulder during the season.
Mayfield, who only missed one game with the injury, will need up to six months of rehab, but is expected to be fully recovered by the time the Browns hold offseason workouts - assuming, of course, he's still with the team.
The Browns said they anticipate Mayfield will begin "light throwing" in April.
"Now it's on the way to the road to recovery," he said. "It's not going to be an easy one, but it's going to be one that I'm going to remember, and it's going to be a special one."
Mayfield initially was hurt in Week 2 against Houston while trying to make tackle after throwing an interception. He continued to play while wearing a protective harness and then aggravated the injury and sustained a fracture to his shoulder against Arizona on Oct. 17.
He was fitted with a more restrictive harness, which prevented his shoulder from popping out of the socket.
Partly because of the injury affecting his throwing mechanics, Mayfield struggled and his uneven play contributed to the Browns (8-9) falling well short of expectations or making the postseason.
After being sacked nine times on Jan. 3 in a loss at Pittsburgh, Mayfield, who threw seven interceptions in his last three games, said he was "pretty damn beat up" and decided to skip the season finale.
In his video Wednesday, Mayfield alluded to a rough season during which he spoke of "internal noise" being an issue.
"This past year hasn't been very easy," he said. "A lot of stuff has gone down. It wasn't easy on me or my family, so I appreciate everybody that's reached out, that wished me well and good luck on the surgery. All the prayers and everything, it definitely did not go unnoticed, so thank you."
Mayfield's regression this season has spawned speculation that the Browns may move forward without the 2018 No. 1 overall pick. The team has not approached the QB's agent about a long-term contract extension. He's signed through next season for $18.9 million after the team exercised his fifth-year option.
Last week, both coach Kevin Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry offered support to Mayfield by saying they expect him to be the starter in 2022 and to "bounce back."
That doesn't mean the team won't explore other options at quarterback via trade of free agency during the offseason, but Berry stressed the team's time with Mayfield gives them faith he'll rebound next season.
"We know his work ethic," Berry said. "We know his drive and we have seen him as a talented passer in this league. We are looking forward to him getting healthy and continuing to make improvements. We expect him to bounce back next year."
Mayfield is already pointing toward a fresh start.
"This is not the end of my story," he said. "It's just going to be one of those little things that I'll look back and remember that it's one of those challenges and adversity that I'm going to try to take advantage of and make me a better person. So thank you for everybody that's reached out once again.
"Let's go get it."
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Updated January 19, 2022