Thad Lewis, come on down.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur announced Friday afternoon, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, that Lewis will make his NFL debut as the team’s starting quarterback against the Steelers this Sunday. The writing’s been on the wall for this move all week as both Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy have missed practice with injuries that concerned the team enough that they signed Josh Johnson to give them another healthy body other than Lewis to take onto the field against Pittsburgh.
Lewis was 9-for-17 for 146 yards and an interception in the preseason this year. He’ll be the first Duke product to play quarterback in the NFL since Dave Brown played in a game for the Cardinals in 2001.
Lewis’ life isn’t going to be made any easier by Trent Richardson. Richardson has been ruled out of the game as well thanks to the ankle injury that has also made him a spectator at practice this week. Richardson fought through other injuries to play all of the first 15 games of the season, but this one has proven to be a hill too far. His rookie season ends with 950 yards and 11 touchdowns on 267 carries and he added another score on a reception. Montario Hardesty and Brandon Jackson will run the ball in his place.
It’s not an ideal situation for the Browns, which is exactly what coach Pat Shurmur said when talking about the job he took over before the 2011 season. The next Browns coach hopes to inherit a better one whenever he takes over the job following the widely expected ouster of Shurmur after the season.