December 22, 2014

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(Updated) Browns QB Brian Hoyer to start Sunday in place of injured Brandon Weeden

Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer scrambles as he looks for a receiver during the first half of an exhibition against the Chicago Bears on Aug. 29 in Chicago. (AP photo)

Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer scrambles as he looks for a receiver during the first half of an exhibition against the Chicago Bears on Aug. 29 in Chicago. (AP photo)

Brian Hoyer will start at quarterback Sunday at Minnesota.
Coach Rob Chudzinski informed Hoyer of the decision Tuesday and announced it today.
“I’m definitely excited,” Hoyer said. “This is an opportunity you practice for, you prepare for. Obviously, I’m excited and I’ll try to take advantage of it and try to give this team everything I’ve got to help us get that first win.”
Starter Brandon Weeden left the 14-6 loss to the Ravens on Sunday with a sprained right thumb after banging it on the helmet of guard John Greco. Weeden was ruled out for Sunday and will visit with a hand specialist Thursday, when he hopes to learn a prognosis.
“I don’t even know anything. I’ll know more tomorrow,” he said.
“Early indications are that it is not a long-term issue,” Chudzinski said. “Everything has been positive up to this point. He’ll follow up with a hand specialist, and we’ll get a better indication later on this week on his status going forward.”
The decision to start Hoyer, a North Olmsted native and St. Ignatius graduate, was somewhat surprising. He was inactive the first two games, as Jason Campbell was the backup and replaced Weeden late in the fourth quarter against the Ravens.
“I feel like based on our current situation where we’re at offensively as well as getting into the game-planning for Minnesota that Brian’s strengths are the best fit for this week and that he gives us our best chance to win,” Chudzinski said. “The things that he does well fit what we need.”
Chudzinski said it was his decision alone, although general manager Michael Lombardi said during his broadcasting days that he felt Hoyer could become a starter in the league. Chudzinski also wouldn’t commit to starting Weeden when he’s healthy enough to return.
“I’m going to leave all the options open,” Chudzinski said. “Really, it’s a matter of where he’s at from a health standpoint and all that plays into it and where we’re at and how guys are playing as well.”
Weeden was unaware of that until told by reporters.
“I don’t worry about that stuff,” he said.
Campbell had been the No. 2 since signing as a free agent in March. However, Hoyer, who was signed in May, did get some practice repetitions with the second team. Campbell wasn’t in the locker room during the period open to reporters, but Chudzinski said he handled the news like a professional.
Hoyer, who will turn 28 next month, has one career start in four-plus seasons in the NFL. Last year in the season finale for the Cardinals, he went 19-for-34 (55.9 percent) for 225 yards, a touchdown, an interception and a 73.8 rating in a 27-13 loss at San Francisco.
“This is what I came here for — to play,” Hoyer said. “You don’t come here to be just a guy and I think anybody who plays this position in this league they want to be on the field.”