Browns still fighting despite prospect of winless season
BEREA, Ohio (AP) Not for lack of trying, but of talent, the Cleveland Browns aren't winning.
They aren't quitting, though.
Faced with the very real possibility of running the table and going winless over 16 games, it would be easy for them to wave the white flag, surrender with two games left, pack it up and be done with this miserable season.
Coach Hue Jackson has experienced that with players elsewhere.
''I know what they look like, feel like, act like and all of it,'' Jackson said Tuesday. ''I have seen it. I have not seen that in this group.''
The Browns (0-14) are bad, and they may soon go down as one of the worst teams in NFL history, but they plan to do it swinging.
''I think we still have some fight in us, we're still focusing on finishing this season off strong,'' said nose tackle Danny Shelton, whose improvement in his second year has been one of the few positives in an otherwise forgettable season. ''There are a lot of guys who still believe.''
Terrelle Pryor leads the list. The team's top wide receiver intends to play in Cleveland's final two games - home on Christmas Eve against San Diego and at Pittsburgh on New Year's Day - with a torn ligament in his right middle finger, an injury that will require surgery, which has been scheduled for the day after the Steelers game.
Pryor got hurt on the first play of the second half in Sunday's game at Buffalo when he reached down to catch a low pass from quarterback Robert Griffin and jammed his fingers on the artificial turf.
Following Tuesday's indoor workout, Pryor described the painful mishap.
''Every single time I bent my knuckle, my knuckle felt like it got smashed with a hammer,'' he said. ''It was flat.''
Pryor tried taping his fingers together during the 33-13 loss, Cleveland's 17th straight over two seasons, but that didn't work and he spent time on the sideline trying to get it so his finger would straighten.
He worked with the team's medical staff over the past two days on fitting him with some protection and he'll play with a partial cast covering his finger.
Earlier this year, Pryor said he was willing to go to extreme lengths, saying he would even be willing to cut off a finger to help his team win.
''I meant what I said a long time ago about the finger and now I'm here,'' he said. ''So it's time to go. It's time to live up to what I said and I'm excited it.''
Despite the negativity surrounding his team, the late-night TV jokes and attempts by some fans to organize a downtown parade if the Browns complete an imperfect season, Jackson has been strengthened by his players' resolve.
The Browns haven't given up.
''This is a tremendous group,'' Jackson said. ''I don't think anybody has said, `OK, we are not going to be out there' and not want to be out there. Guys have some excuses where they could use them so that could not be out there, but I have not seen anybody do that.
''I think what is important is playing with your teammates and finishing this thing the right way and getting better and taking these opportunities to continue to grow as a team. That is what all our players are doing.''
NOTES: Jackson expects LT Joe Thomas to be selected to his 10th Pro Bowl, which would be the most by a Browns player. Hall of Famers Jim Brown and Lou Groza were selected to nine Pro Bowls. ... Jackson wasn't happy that the Browns had to practice indoor again because the fields behind their facility are covered in ice. "We were indoors because I couldn't get all the snow off the freaking field,'' said Jackson, adding he spoke to vice president of football operations Sashi Brown about the problem. ''We need to be outside. We are an outdoor team. We are not an indoor team.'' ... The Browns signed LB James Burgess and TE J.P. Holtz to their practice squad. Burgess was originally signed by Miami and spent time on practice squads with the Dolphins, San Diego, Baltimore and Jacksonville. Holtz was originally signed by the Browns as an undrafted free agent. He spent the preseason with the Browns before being waived during final roster cuts on Sept. 3.
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