BEREA — Inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson has played all but one snap this season and leads the team with 134 tackles. He’s a team captain and the undisputed leader of the locker room.
He’s also due a $4.1 million bonus in March if he’s on the roster, which would be on top of his $2.6 million salary for 2014.
He knows the front office will have a decision to make, but said he’d be shocked if he doesn’t return for his ninth season.
“Absolutely. Absolutely,” Jackson said Friday. “I don’t even like talking about it.
“From what I know, I’m a part of the plans, I’ll be here next year. We’ve got a good, solid foundation here, I love what we’re doing. So I’ll be the first in line to say I want to be here for the future. No one from the front office has let me know or my agent know that I wasn’t a part of their plans.”
CEO Joe Banner wasn’t in charge when Jackson signed a five-year, $42.5 million contract in February 2012. Banner and the coaching staff have been complimentary of Jackson, but Banner has a history of not paying big money to players in their 30s. Jackson will turn 31 in September.
“Well, it’s going to be a decision they have to make, and I’m sure it’s already made, but if someone thinks I shouldn’t be here, I have one more game to show why I should,” Jackson said. “I’ve survived a ton of coordinators and head coaches, so I’m up for the challenge.”
Jackson, who’s led the team in tackles four times, said he’d be willing to listen if the Browns asked him to restructure the contract. The Browns have plenty of room under the salary cap, with CBS Sports’ Joel Corry estimating they will have $46 million available.
“I pay my agent some good money and hopefully he can come up with something to make both sides happy,” Jackson said. “If that was the case, I trust my team would get something done.”
Jackson’s only missed snap was a Hail Mary at the end of the Vikings game. He is the longest-tenured Browns player, joining the team as a second-round pick in 2006. The Browns are 41-86 since then, but he can’t picture himself playing for another team.
“It’s hard to imagine now,” he said. “Now I’m stuck to Cleveland, it’s going to be hard to go somewhere else and play. I know it’s the nature of the business, things may change and I’m fully aware of that. Right now, I’m a Cleveland Brown through and through.”
Center Alex Mack, voted to the Pro Bowl on Friday, is set to become a free agent in March and joins strong safety T.J. Ward as the team’s most significant players scheduled to hit the open market. Mack has played all 4,934 snaps since he was drafted No. 21 in 2009 and also made the Pro Bowl in 2010.
He’s open to signing an extension.
“Cleveland is a very easy place to come back to,” he said. “I like the coaches. I like the players. I have a house here. So without a doubt it would be very easy to come back.”
Mack said he feels wanted by the Browns, but wouldn’t elaborate.
Tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion) returned to practice, said he felt normal and was listed as questionable on the injury report. He hadn’t been cleared to play Sunday in Pittsburgh, but was meeting with an independent neurologist Friday afternoon. The Browns won’t announce if he’ll play until 90 minutes before kickoff.
Cameron was injured at the end of the Bears game Dec. 15 and missed last week against the Jets.
“It happened on the second-to-last catch I had,” he said. “I put my head down and got hit in the back of the head.”
** Nose tackle Phil Taylor (concussion), guard Jason Pinkston (concussion) and backup tight end Andre Smith (calf) were ruled out.
** Cornerback Joe Haden (hip) and right guard Shawn Lauvao (thigh) didn’t practice this week and were listed as questionable. Coach Rob Chudzinski said Haden would be a gametime decision. Defensive end John Hughes (knee, elbow) was listed as doubtful.
** Guard John Greco (knee) was limited all week and listed as questionable. If Lauvao doesn’t play, Greco would likely shift from left to right guard, with rookie seventh-round Garrett Gilkey making his first NFL start at left guard. Greco has missed the last two games.
** For the Steelers, linebacker Terence Garvin (knee) was ruled out. Linebacker Jason Worilds (abdomen) and receiver Emmanuel Sanders (knee) were listed as questionable.
Jets rookie defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was fined $15,750 for roughing the passer. The NFL determined he unnecessarily drove Jason Campbell to the ground and landed on him with his full weight.
** Jackson wore Ward’s jersey for the season’s final practice. Ward then wore Jackson’s.
“It was something that when I was younger a lot of guys used to do it,” Jackson said. “It’s the last Friday of the season. That’s a guy I’ve got a lot of respect for. He’s been playing well. Let me wear his jersey. He wore mine. It’s just a fun thing to do.”