BEREA — The Browns don’t have a quarterback controversy, but they are facing a quarterback quandary.
With starter Jake Delhomme in a walking boot because of an injured right ankle, backup Seneca Wallace ran the first-string offense Wednesday at practice.
Coach Eric Mangini was non-committal about which player is likely to be under center Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs visit Cleveland Browns Stadium.
“Jake is better today. He’s sore, but he’s a pretty tough guy, so I’d say he is day to day,” Mangini said.
“I’ve had guys who have hurt their ankle in the past that have been able to come back and play pretty quickly, but you never know.
“We’ll make a decision toward the end of this week, but I have tremendous faith in Seneca if he winds up being the guy to step in. I don’t think we’ll lose anything because he has comfort with our offense.”
Delhomme was hurt Sunday while throwing an interception late in the first half of Cleveland’s 17-14 loss to Tampa Bay. The play occurred with 26 seconds remaining in the second quarter and led to a Buccaneers touchdown just eight seconds later.
The 35-year-old quarterback refused to blame the injury for his poor play throughout the second half, but said, “I knew at halftime that I needed to get taped up, but it’s no excuse for anything that happened.”
Delhomme also would not reveal the extent of his injury, saying, “I’m a big believer that what happens in the trainer’s room stays in the trainer’s room, so I’m going to leave it at that.”
He did say this was the first time he has ever experienced an ankle problem.
“Having seen Jake Delhomme for years, I know he’s a real tough guy who is going to fight and do everything he can to go in there and play,” Chiefs coach Todd Haley said. “I think the week is going to play out how it’s going to play out, but from watching their game, it was clear that something occurred (to affect his play).”
Delhomme’s debut with the Browns was far from a masterpiece as he went 20-for-37 for 227 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and a 59.2 passer rating.
Wallace, meanwhile, saw limited action in wildcat formations against Tampa Bay, but did catch one pass for 9 yards from Joshua Cribbs. It marked just his 49th game in eight NFL seasons.
“I’m just happy to be on the field, it doesn’t matter if I’m at quarterback or wide receiver,” Wallace said. “I’m going to keep doing what I always do. I’ll be working Wednesday, working Thursday, and if (Mangini) comes to me Friday and says I’m the guy, then so be it.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s Week 1, Week 2 or Week 15 — it’s still football. You just have to go out and play the game.”
In this case, Cleveland also really needs to win after falling short in its 2010 debut. It wouldn’t hurt, either, to thrill the crowd on the day that its “Ring of Honor” — featuring the franchise’s 16 Pro Football Hall of Famers — will be unveiled.
Delhomme fully understands that situation, which is why he plans on letting his brain overrule his heart as the game approaches.
“If I felt like I was going to be a detriment to the offense, I feel I’d be smarter than that, knowing that we have an extremely good quarterback in Seneca,” he said. “And as a quarterback, I’m a firm believer of getting snaps in practice during the week.
“I’m just going to work on trying to get better today, and we’ll see how I feel tomorrow. I promise I’m not giving you ‘coach speak.’ I’m just giving you how I feel and where my focus is.”
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.