Browns QB Baker Mayfield (shoulder) cleared to play, will start vs. Steelers

One missed game was enough for Baker Mayfield.

Mayfield will start on Sunday for the Browns in their game against the Steelers, coach Kevin Stefanski announced Friday.

The Cleveland quarterback received medical clearance to play late Thursday despite a torn left labrum and shoulder fracture, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Mayfield has regained his strength in the shoulder, has a full range of motion and the fracture is healing, Rapoport reported, leading to the decision made by the Browns.

Mayfield hasn't played since Cleveland's Week 6 loss to Arizona, a game in which he aggravated the shoulder when he was sacked by J.J. Watt. Mayfield attempted to prepare to play on a short week that followed, but was unable to satisfy the team's doctors enough to allow him to suit up for the Thursday night game against the Broncos. Case Keenum played in his place, helping the Browns to a 17-14 win.

Sunday brings greater stakes for the Browns, who currently own a two-game winning streak against the Steelers (including a road playoff win over Pittsburgh), but bring a banged-up roster to the field against a team that has enjoyed a week off thanks to the bye. Cleveland will already be without cornerback Denzel Ward and receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, as well as Kareem Hunt, who remains on injured reserve with a calf injury.

Odell Beckham, Jadeveon Clowney, Malik Jackson and Takkarist McKinley are questionable for Sunday's contest.

The good news: Running back Nick Chubb, who has missed the Browns' last two games due to a calf injury, was a full participant and did not receive a game status designation. The same is true for tackle Jedrick Wills and guard/tackle Blake Hance. Jack Conklin, Jarvis Landry, Malcolm Smith and JC Tretter were limited participants but did not receive status designations, clearing the way for them to play Sunday as well.

But Mayfield's return brings a boost to an offense that wasn't flashy but got the job done against a struggling Broncos defense a little over a week ago. The question now becomes: Can Mayfield maintain his accuracy while being forced to adjust his mechanics to protect his shoulder? Will he think twice before extending or attempting to make a heroic play? Perhaps most importantly, can he make it through the game without further aggravation?

We'll learn Sunday if an on-the-mend Mayfield can extend Cleveland's winning streak over Pittsburgh to three games -- and keep pace with the Bengals and Ravens.

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