Browns Sign Former Bears Running Back Ahead of Finale

Getty Images Artavis Pierce has signed with the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns have signed former Chicago Bears running back Artavis Pierce to their practice squad ahead of the team’s final game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The signing of Pierce was first reported by Aaron Wilson of Sports Talk 790 in Houston. Pierce played five games for the Bears in 2020, notching six carries for 34 yards and a touchdown. He also played a role on special teams for Chicago. Pierce played one game for the Bears this season but played just three offensive snaps.

The signing of Pierce comes in the wake of D’Ernest Johnson landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list. That leaves the Browns in a tough spot heading into their meaningless finale against the Bengals, with Kareem Hunt still nursing an ankle injury and Nick Chubb dealing with a rib injury he suffered against the Steelers.

If Johnson, Chubb and Hunt were out, the Browns would be in a tough spot, having only rookie Demetric Felton left on the depth chart. Seeing as the Browns are out of the running for the postseason, it’d be reasonable to think all three will be out on Wednesday, although Johnson still has a chance to play due to the league’s new protocols.

The Browns also added tight end Nick Guggemos to the practice squad. Guggemos is a rookie from the University of St. Thomas. Originally signed an undrafted free agent signed by Seattle, Guggemos spent most of training camp with Washington and spent Week 15 on the Browns’ practice squad.

Nick Chubb’s Lack of Work Attributed to Rib Injury

The big question during the Browns’ 26-14 loss to the Steelers on Monday was why Chubb received just 12 carries against one of the worst rush defenses in the NFL.

“Can we get an injury report on Chubb?” former All-Pro quarterback turned Manning Cast commentator Peyton Manning said near the end of the first half. “Please tell me Chubb is injured and that’s why he’s not in the game. Can anybody explain that one to me?”

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski explained after the game that Chubb suffered a rib injury.

“He got a little banged up with a rib injury,” Stefanski said. “He was able to play through it, but he needed some rest.”

That left much of the load on a banged up Baker Mayfield, who was sacked nine times and tossed a pair of interceptions.

“Yeah, it was a factor in some of those things [the playcalling],” Stefanski said. “I don’t want to overstate that either, though. We just couldn’t sustain drives, staying on the field, those type of things.”

Browns QB Baker Mayfield Out For Final Game

Kevin Stefanski: "We weren't able to get it done last night and it wasn't for a lack of effort"Kevin Stefanski addresses the media on January 4th, 2022. #BrownsMedia #PressConference2022-01-04T19:12:16Z

It didn’t take long for the Browns and Mayfield to decide enough is enough, with the fourth-year quarterback being ruled out of the team’s Week 18 matchup. He’ll now turn his attention to offseason shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.

“We are going to hold him out. He is going to get surgery scheduled really as soon as possible so that he can get back healthy as soon as possible. Throughout this whole thing, we have tried to make the right decision based on all of the information available to us, constant dialogue with our medical staff and with Baker and all of those types of things,” Stefanski said on Monday, January 4. “Throughout, I have really felt comfortable based on all of that information that he was able to play and those type of things. Obviously, frustrated for him, but just felt like that was the right thing to do for right now.”

Mayfield finishes the year with 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions — six of those picks coming in the final two games.

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