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Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield revealed after defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers that he will undergo shoulder surgery during the offseason.
Mayfield has carried the problem – a torn labrum in his non-throwing left shoulder – since Week 2 of the season.
The 26-year-old has endured a difficult campaign, and was sacked nine times against the Steelers on Monday as Pittsburgh kept their playoff hopes alive. The Browns were already out of postseason contention before the game at Heinz Field.
Mayfield has been sacked 43 times across 14 games, up from 26 sacks in 16 appearances last season, while he has also been intercepted on five more occasions (13 to eight).
Only two quarterbacks – Joe Burrow (51) and Ryan Tannehill (46) – have been sacked more times this term.
His 3,010 passing yards is the lowest total of his career, with his tally of touchdown throws also a low mark (17), while his interception percentage of 3.1 ranks as the fifth-worst in the league.
Mayfield's season may now be over, with discussions set to take place within his camp on whether he will be available for the Browns' final game of the season against the Cincinnati Bengals, who have already clinched the AFC North.
"I'm an extremely competitive guy," Mayfield told reporters after Monday's game, in which he at one stage failed to complete a pass on 10 consecutive throws.
"Now it's time for me to start looking at what's in the best interest of me and my health. It's not gonna always be pretty or smooth, but I'm a fighter.
"If anybody ever questions how much I want it, just turn on this tape. It wasn't pretty, but I kept going, kept swinging; that's who I am, and that's what I will continue to be.
"I've continued to lay it out on the line when I haven't been healthy and tried to fight for our guys. Right now, I'm pretty damn beat up, to be honest with you. There's no way around it. I gave it everything I had tonight."
Next season could be Mayfield's last with the Browns. His rookie contract runs through the 2022 campaign.