CLEVELAND, OH (AP) – The Browns are shuffling quarterbacks. What else is new?
With their quarterback room looking like a medical supply store, the team released veteran quarterback Charlie Whitehurst on Tuesday and promoted rookie QB Kevin Hogan from the practice squad to the active roster.
Whitehurst injured his left knee in the final minutes of Sunday’s 33-13 loss to New England. The longtime backup known as “Clipboard Jesus” reached an injury settlement with the team before he was let go.
Whitehurst was signed earlier this season after starters Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown were injured in the season’s first two weeks.
The Browns were desperate to find an experienced backup for rookie Cody Kessler, a third-round pick who was supposed to spend the season on the sideline learning but was rushed into action because of the injuries.
Kessler sustained an injury to his ribs and chest late in the first quarter Sunday and was replaced by Whitehurst, who completed 14 of 24 passes for 182 yards and threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Connor Hamlett.
Whitehurst, though, hyperextended his knee in the fourth quarter and limped through the Browns’ locker room on Monday with an elastic wrap on his knee. He did not speak with reporters.
The Browns are hopeful Kessler will practice Wednesday and McCown will return for the first time in a month and could play Sunday when Cleveland visits Tennessee.
Browns coach Hue Jackson will wait to see which of his QBs is healthier before deciding whether to give Kessler his fourth start or go back to the 37-year-old McCown, who has displayed toughness in two injury-filled seasons with Cleveland.
Cleveland has started three QBs already this season, and including wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, have had five take snaps.
Cleveland has started 26 quarterbacks since 1999.
Jackson’s first season with the Browns, who have lost seven in a row and 14 of 15 since last season, has been made more challenging by the injuries to his quarterbacks. However, he doesn’t plan to alter his game plans to protect them.
“Sometimes, things happen,” he said. “Each one of these injuries has been a little different. It is football and these things are going to happen to players.
“We just have had our share of bad luck, in my opinion. It is unfortunate, but we will get this turned around to where we will have maybe too many quarterbacks standing at some point.
“Trust me, we don’t ever go into a game thinking we are going to get our quarterback hit or on this particular play. He can get hit.
“Sometimes, defenses guess right and they do things and they make adjustments and sometimes guys have to kind of protect themselves a little bit. Those things will happen from time to time. We have been unfortunate this year. It has happened more than once, twice, two, three, four times so we have to live with that, too, and we have.”
Hogan was drafted in the fifth round by Kansas City and played in the exhibition season before the Chiefs waived him on Sept. 3. He was signed the next day by the Browns, who have ties with him as assistant coach Pep Hamilton was Hogan’s quarterbacks coach for two years at Stanford.
The 6-foot-3 Hogan passed for 9,385 yards and 75 TDs during his college career.