Thad Lewis will make his first career start against the NFL’s top defense.
Cleveland’s third-string quarterback will start the season finale Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, filling in for injured quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy, who are both nursing sprained right shoulders. Browns coach Pat Shurmur told Lewis he would make the start following Friday’s practice.
”He said, `You’re the man,”’ Lewis said. ”It’s exciting. It’s a blessing for a childhood dream to come true.”
Weeden and McCoy were not able to practice all week after being injured during the second half of a lopsided loss last week in Denver. Lewis took all the snaps with the first-team offense during practice, and the Browns signed free agent Josh Johnson earlier this week as added insurance in case Weeden and McCoy were still hurt.
Also, rookie running back Trent Richardson will not play against the Steelers because of a sprained ankle. He finished his first season as a pro 50 yards shy of 1,000.
Shurmur said he will not alter his game plan because of Lewis’ inexperience.
”He’s been preparing himself to play all year,” Shurmur said of Lewis, who last started a game in 2009 as a senior at Duke. ”What we expect is he goes out and plays winning football.”
Shurmur also ruled out cornerback Sheldon Brown from Sunday’s game with a concussion. Brown had started 175 consecutive regular-season games.