Browns' McCown better after pounding in loss to Rams

BEREA, Ohio (AP) Josh McCown walked into the Browns' locker room bruised but with all his body parts.

After the pounding he took Sunday in St. Louis, where he literally ran into a wall and the Rams threw him around like a rag doll, it was remarkable McCown was still standing.

And, for now, still the starter.

McCown injured his right shoulder during the fourth quarter of the 24-6 loss and was replaced by Johnny Manziel, who came in for one drive during mop-up duty.

It's not yet known how seriously McCown is injured, but Browns coach Mike Pettine said Monday that he'll start him over Manziel if the 36-year-old is healthy enough to play.

''If our starting quarterback is physically able to play, will we play him?'' Pettine said sarcastically when asked of his plans against Arizona. ''Yes.''

McCown was sacked four times by the Rams, who also got away with a late shove out of bounds on the quarterback, sending him onto a concrete track, where he slipped and slammed into a cement barrier.

McCown also took a nasty hit to the chin, a blow that dazed him and left him grabbing his head on the field.

McCown was cleared for a concussion, but the veteran would not reveal any specifics of the MRI on his shoulder. It's possible he'll be kept out of practice Wednesday, when the Browns should have a better handle on his availability.

Pettine praised McCown's ability to shake off big hits and stay in the game.

''That's a credit to his toughness, his resolve,'' he said. ''But we have to know that we have to protect this guy. You can't have your quarterback go through a game like that. I don't care if he's Josh's age or 23. You have to protect your quarterback. That's not good business.''

As is almost always the case when it comes to quarterbacks, the Browns (2-5), who had four turnovers and committed 11 penalties against the Rams, have more to consider than just McCown's health as they get ready for the Cardinals.

Manziel has a meeting scheduled with the NFL later this week to discuss a recent domestic dispute. The league is investigating whether the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner violated its personal-conduct policy when he was involved in an argument while driving with his girlfriend on Oct. 12.

The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner was questioned by Avon, Ohio, police after the quarrel with his girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, who told authorities that Manziel hit her during their disagreement. Manziel was not arrested and the couple was allowed to leave the scene together.

It's not known where Manziel's meeting will take place, but Pettine said the league will advise the Browns of its plans.

Manziel could face a fine, suspension or possible ban if the league deems he broke conditions of its policy. Pettine has not been contacted by the league, but he's confident that if Manziel is disciplined, the Browns will get immediate word.

''They understand the schedule that we're in,'' he said. ''I'm sure that whatever result, if there's some type of immediate result to it they would let us know as soon as possible.''

None of it will matter if McCown is healthy. With his career winding down, he only has so many snaps left and doesn't want to miss any chance to play.

''I want to get back out there and get going,'' he said. ''It's not just me. Every guy in this locker room puts his time in, and you want to be rewarded for your work and your effort.

''But in order to do that, you've got to go out and make that happen on Sunday. You've got to go out and make the plays necessary to win and don't make the critical mistakes that hurt us, so I'd absolutely love to be back out there.''

NOTES: Pettine said WR Andrew Hawkins sustained a concussion Sunday and is in the NFL's protocol on head injuries. ... Pro Bowl CB Joe Haden remains in the protocol after missing two games, but is improving. ... Pettine said the team will send several plays to the league office for review, including the one in which McCown was struck high by Rams S/LB Mark Barron. ''He got underneath me pretty good,'' McCown said.

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Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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