BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Cleveland Browns quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy did not practice this week and coach Pat Shurmur ruled both of them out Friday afternoon.
Thaddeus Lewis will start the season finale Sunday at Pittsburgh.
“He’s had a good week of practice,” Shurmur said. “He’s been preparing himself to play all year even though he wasn’t on the active roster. We anticipate and what we expect is that he goes out and plays winning football.”
Lewis, who was signed from the practice squad on Monday, is the 18th quarterback to start since 1999 for the Browns. Tim Couch was the last quarterback to play all 16 games in a season – that came in 2001.
“It’s exciting,” Lewis said. “Once you get the official word that you’re starting, it’s a blessing for a childhood dream come true. It’s an opportunity and you have to go out and make the best of it.”
Lewis played in 3 preseason games where he completed 9 of 17 passes for 146 yards and an interception. He’ll get to make his first NFL start against the best defense in the league and in one of the most hostile environments there is in Heinz Field.
“Part of my childhood dream was to be a starter one day in the NFL,” Lewis said. “Who it was against, I didn’t have as visual of that. But it’s a challenge and if you don’t like challenges then you’re in the wrong sport. It’s a great challenge for this football team to go out there, for this offense to go against the No. 1 defense and try to be successful.”
Receiver Greg Little is confident that Lewis will have no problem Sunday running the offense and hopes that his rapport with him will pay off as well.
“He’s a very cerebral guy and he knows how to play football,” Little said. “He knows how to play quarterback.
“Seeing that we’re both ACC guys hopefully he’ll show me a little more love. I think he’ll do great. He’s really opened some eyes here during the week of practice.”
Josh Johnson was signed Wednesday off the street and will serve as Lewis’ backup.
Rookie running back Trent Richardson will not play after missing the week with an ankle injury. He finishes the season 50 yards shy of the coveted 1,000 mark.
Montario Hardesty will start in place of Richardson.
“I’ve been happy with Montario and what he’s done this year,” Shurmur said. “He obviously doesn’t have the number of carries that he would have liked, but the ones he has had have been meaningful.
“We’ll use all three backs. We’ll get them in there and let them do their thing.”
Brandon Jackson, who has been inactive for 13 games this season, will be active and play.
“It’s been tough, it’s been tough,” Jackson said of sitting most of the year. “Now I get the opportunity to go out and who knows, run the ball or whatever. Just go out and show the team what they’ve been missing.”
Jackson has yet to carry the ball this season and has 2 catches for 20 yards – both came in the season opener against the Eagles.
“I’ve been pleased with what he’s done all year,” Shurmur said. “Unfortunately, he would have like to have been playing. He’s had a good week of practice. He’s been very professional about all this. He stayed positive about his role. I anticipate when he gets in there we’ll get some good snaps out of him.”
Cornerback Sheldon Brown missed practice all week due to a concussion and was also ruled out by Shurmur along with tight end Jordan Cameron.