D'Ernest Johnson, step on up.
After the Browns placed running back Kareem Hunt on injured reserve earlier in the day, head coach Kevin Stefanski said in his Tuesday press conference that Nick Chubb is also out for Thursday’s game against the Broncos. That means Johnson will make his first career start against Denver.
Chubb (calf) missed Cleveland’s Week Six loss to Arizona with the injury. Hunt, arguably the best backup running back in the league, suffered a more serious calf injury during that game that will reportedly keep him out for four-to-six weeks.
Johnson has mainly played special teams in his three seasons with the Browns. But he does have 40 career carries for 198 yards. He’s rushed three times for 11 yards this season and also has a 7-yard reception.
The Browns also have rookie Demetric Felton who could share some of the load at running back.
As for Cleveland’s quarterback, Stefanski said Baker Mayfield will be a limited participant in Tuesday’s practice. Mayfield told reporters earlier on Tuesday that he fully tore the labrum in his left shoulder. He re-aggravated the injury in Sunday’s loss to Arizona.
“I think you guys know Baker,” Stefanski said, via 92.3 The Fan. “He’s a fighter. He’s as tough as they come. I expect him to fight like crazy to get to Thursday.”
Stefanski added that no decision has yet been made on Mayfield’s availability for Thursday. The same applies to the team’s starting offensive tackles, Jedrick Wills (ankle) and Jack Conklin (knee), who both missed last week’s game.