BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Joe Flacco used to beat the Browns regularly. He might be joining them.
The former Super Bowl MVP worked out Friday for Cleveland, which is still sorting through its quarterback situation after losing Deshaun Watson with a season-ending shoulder injury, several people familiar with his visit told The Associated Press.
The 38-year-old Flacco could be an option for the Browns, who lost Deshaun Watson for the season earlier this week with a broken bone in his right shoulder, an injury he suffered during a comeback win over the Baltimore Ravens (8-3).
Flacco went home without signing a contract, but there remains mutual interest between the veteran QB and the team, said one of the people who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Flacco was named Super Bowl MVP in 2013 after leading Baltimore to a 34-31 win over San Francisco. He completed 22 of 33 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns.
The 6-foot-6 QB has passed for 42,320 yards and gone 99-81 as a starter in 180 career NFL starts. He played 11 seasons for the Ravens, three with the Jets and one in Denver.
Flacco had some of his best success against the Browns, going 18-3 with 31 TD passes. He hasn’t been on any roster in 2023, but has kept open the possibility of returning and Cleveland has a pressing need.
Watson’s injury has threatened to derail a promising season for the Browns (6-3). But Watson won’t be back until 2024 at the earliest, and the Browns need help now.
With Watson sidelined, the Browns are starting rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) with P.J. Walker as his backup. Thompson-Robinson threw three interceptions in his only start against the Ravens on Oct. 1.
Earlier this week, Browns general manager Andrew Berry said the team will add a third QB, but didn’t specify if it would be to the active roster or practice squad.
Wide receiver Elijah Moore spent two seasons with Flacco in New York and said he would be a great addition.
“Joe’s a leader,” Moore said. “I feel like he has a lot of experience. He knows football, and how could you not want to lean on somebody who knows football? They play the game for a long time at a very high level, the highest level, MVP level. So major respect to him.”
Like Moore, Browns All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett believes Flacco would be a major asset — as a player or simply to help Thompson-Robinson.
“Maturity and experience. Wisdom,” Garrett said when asked the value of adding a player like Flacco. “As much as Deshaun has played, Flacco’s seen more. He’s been to the highest level. He can provide that little bit of a mentor role even if he doesn’t see the field being there and being a consistent leader.”