Browns QB Nick Mullens Breaks Silence on Starting Against Raiders

Getty Images Quarterback Nick Mullens of the Cleveland Browns.

It’s been a crazy week for the Cleveland Browns and quarterback Nick Mullens, in particular.

Mullens is in line to start on Monday against the Raiders with both Case Keenum and Baker Mayfield testing positive for COVID-19. While most practice squad quarterbacks would carry just a bit of uncertainty into the situation, Mullens has some confidence, which he should, considering his background.

Mullens is in his fourth NFL season out of Southern Mississippi. Originally signed by San Francisco as an undrafted free agent in 2017, Mullens has appeared in 19 career games with 16 starts, completing 387 passes for 4,714 yards with 25 touchdowns. He has spent the 2021 season on the Browns’ practice squad and was active but did not play in the team’s Week 7 game.

“This is my fifth year in the NFL, and I’ve learned to expect anything,” Mullens said on Saturday, December 18. “We’re here because our coaches believe in us and we’re here to prove them right.”

The game was moved from Saturday to Monday due to the COVID-19 issues within the Browns building. For Mullens, that didn’t matter too much and he’ll still be ready if his number is called.

“I don’t even know if I had a reaction. I was prepared and ready to play,” Mullens said. “Then it got moved and I said, ‘alright, we’ll play on Monday.’ I think it might not rain on Monday, so can’t complain about that.”

Browns Holding Out Hope for Starters to Return

The Browns continue to have players going on and off the reserve/COVID-19 list, which will continue to happen until just hours before game time. The NFL gave the Browns and Raiders until 2 p.m. on Monday to activate players off COVID-19 reserve and make other roster moves, per That’s nearly a full extra day that the Browns will have available to them for guys like Mayfield, Jarvis Landry and others to test negative.

While multiple position groups have been ravaged, a major concern is the offensive line, with the Browns missing multiple starters, notably at offensive tackle. That’s not a good recipe for victory if Mullens is under center.

Jack Conklin is already out with a season-ending torn patellar tendon and Jedrick Wills Jr. and James Hudson III have tested positive.

The Browns have not yet revealed the plan for if all the players are unavailable, but Blake Hance — the lone available tackle — being able to man both the left and right tackle spots is a big plus.

Frustration Has Mounted for Both Browns, Raiders

It’s been a tough and confusing week for the Browns and Baker Mayfield aired some of his frustrations on Twitter earlier in the week.

“NFL make up your damn mind on protocols,” Mayfield tweeted on Thursday. “Showing up and making only 3 teams test?!? All so you can keep the game as scheduled to make money.”

He continued: “Actually caring about player safety would mean delaying the game with this continuing at the rate it is…. But to say you won’t test vaccinated players if they don’t have symptoms, then to pull this randomly. Doesn’t make any sense to me.”

The Raiders were upset because they felt the game should have been a forfeit and not moved from Saturday’s slot. Both sides have engaged in back and forth on social media.
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