This wasn't the ending he imagined.
Quinn's uneven season is over, and so is his chance to impress new Browns president Mike Holmgren.
Quinn was placed on injured reserve for the second consecutive season Tuesday, this time with an unspecified foot injury. He was hurt while scrambling for 24 yards during the fourth quarter of the Browns' 41-34 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
Browns coach Eric Mangini didn't give specifics about Quinn's injury but said the quarterback's recovery could "take a little while." Mangini said the team didn't yet know if surgery was necessary and that it was unclear on film how Quinn, who was tripped up as he neared the sideline, was injured.
Quinn wasn't available for interviews as he sat off to the side in the indoor fieldhouse while the Browns worked out Tuesday. A few teammates came over and offered handshakes to the former Notre Dame star, who began the season as Cleveland's starter, lost his job, got it back and wound up hurt.
Quinn's injury will keep him out of the Browns' final two games, which will be played with Holmgren newly on board after agreeing to join the struggling franchise as team president.
With Quinn out, Derek Anderson will start Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. It's yet another beginning for Anderson, the former Pro Bowl pick who went 1-4 in five starts after Quinn was benched 10 quarters into the season.
Benched. In. Benched. Back in. It has been a crazy season for Anderson.
"I'm excited about the opportunity," he said. "Obviously we've been doing some good things, and I'll try and just step in and continue to win games."
Quinn won a prolonged competition that began in training camp and lasted until an hour before the opening-game kickoff against the Minnesota Vikings, when Mangini finally announced his starter. Quinn then was benched at halftime of Cleveland's third game, a surprisingly swift move by Mangini, who has spent most of the season preaching patience.
After Anderson had little success, going 1-4 in five starts, Quinn was reinstated as the starter for a Nov. 16 game against the Baltimore Ravens. He threw four touchdown passes the next week in a 38-37 loss at Detroit, but it was a breakout performance for Quinn, who didn't make his NFL debut until the finale of his rookie season in 2007 and had just three starts last season before he was sidelined by a finger injury.
Mangini was hesitant to give an overall assessment of Quinn, saying he wanted to wait until after the Browns were done playing. But the embattled coach liked what he got from Quinn, whose season included a stretch of 150 passes without an interception and concluded with back-to-back wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chiefs.
Mangini praised the former first-round draft pick for his ability to handle Cleveland's hurry-up offense, which the team unveiled after its bye week.
"He made a pretty radical transition going all no-huddle," Mangini said. "I thought he operated that very effectively and got better as he went and helped us quite a bit."
Unsure of his own status with Holmgren coming in, Mangini didn't want to speculate on whether Quinn showed that he could be the team's quarterback of the future.
"He's done a lot of good things," Mangini said. "A lot of things I was hoping for at the beginning of the season, we're starting to see at the latter part of the season. The no-huddle helped him quite a bit. His ability to do that as well as he did helped us. He's improved in quite a few categories. Over the course of time, we've gotten better as a group. We'll see where we are."
Quinn's accuracy was a problem while he went 2-7 in nine starts. He finished 136-of-256 passing (53 percent) for 1,339 yards and eight touchdowns with seven interceptions. He went four consecutive games without throwing an interception, but he had two passes picked off during Sunday's game at Kansas City.
The jury still seems to be out on whether Quinn can develop into a star. Holmgren will have film of 12 starts over three seasons by Quinn to evaluate, but Mangini warned that it's impossible to know the precise time period to fairly judge a quarterback.
"Everybody has a different opinion on that," the coach said. "I've heard 1,000 snaps. I don't know what the exact number is. You see some guys bounce around and play really well. A guy like Kurt Warner gets a chance and lights it up. (Doug) Flutie up in Canada. I don't know what point it hits. It hits different for different guys."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press