Browns limping into Pittsburgh

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Though two of his star players got hurt, Browns coach Pat Shurmur defended playing his regulars late in a blowout loss in Denver.


Shurmur said he was just trying to win when prized rookies Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden were injured in the second half of the 34-12 loss.


“What do we do, just stop playing?” Shurmur said Monday. “So you just run the ball and get out of there, warm up the buses? Is that what? We’re trying to do what we can to move the football. At that time it was a three-score game. Typically that means throw it.”


Facing a defense that knew he had to pass, backup Colt McCoy was sacked four times during his brief relief appearance for Weeden.


“I was just trying to not get knocked out,” said McCoy, whose 2011 season ended when he sustained a concussion in Pittsburgh. He hadn’t thrown a pass since then in a regular-season game until a wobbly Weeden went out Sunday.


“We were pretty far behind at that point when I got in, so I assumed we would start throwing,” McCoy said. “It took a couple series getting used to the pocket – hadn’t had any reps, hadn’t sat back there in a while – so getting a feel for how those guys were playing, I maybe missed a couple throws early.


“A couple times I just threw the ball in the dirt to let those guys (teammates) rest. We were throwing the ball down the field and those guys were tired.”


Shurmur said he was unaware of McCoy’s comments. He did know about kick returner Josh Cribbs’ profane postgame tweet to fans and did not approve.


“That’s not acceptable,” Shurmur said. “I don’t like that and he shouldn’t do that. I think he’s remorseful. But he shouldn’t be reading tweets after a game. Emotions are raw when you don’t win. It is important we use good judgment.”


Gailey not talking about his job security: Bills coach Chan Gailey is not discussing job security, either his or that of starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for another week.


He’s focused on preparing Buffalo for its season finale against the New York Jets this weekend rather than the uncertain offseason that lies ahead.


“I’m not into that right now,” Gailey said Monday. “I’m into let’s beat the Jets and finish this thing the way it needs to be finished.”


At 5-10, Buffalo’s season is essentially finished except for a game against the Jets (6-9) Sunday.


Ryan says Tebow would have gone in if called: Tim Tebow would have done whatever Rex Ryan asked if the New York Jets coach had asked him.


Ryan acknowledged Tebow wasn’t happy when the coach chose Greg McElroy to start for the benched Mark Sanchez, but insisted Tebow was willing to play in any role Sunday against San Diego, including the wildcat.


“He was disappointed, there’s no question,” Ryan said Monday. “He was disappointed that he was not named the starter, but with that being said, I’m not going to get into private conversations that I have with players, but it was my decision to use Jeremy Kerley in the wildcat, without question.


“But I’ll say this: I believe if Tim’s number was called, he would’ve went in and played. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”


A person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press Tebow asked out of his wildcat offense duties last week after hearing that McElroy, the third-stringer, would get his first NFL start over Tebow, listed as the No. 2 quarterback.


Raiders’ Palmer has cracked ribs: Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer suffered cracked ribs and a bruised lung after a hard hit by Carolina linebacker Greg Hardy and will not play in the team’s final game.


Palmer was hit in the back by Hardy late in the first quarter while rolling out to throw. Hardy appeared to lead with his helmet and drew an unnecessary roughness penalty on the play.


Palmer was later taken to a hospital in Carolina and underwent a CT scan before rejoining his teammates for the flight home. Upon arrival in Oakland, the quarterback was again taken to a local hospital, where he remained overnight for observation.


Raiders coach Dennis Allen said he is undecided whether to start Matt Leinart or Terrelle Pryor in place of Palmer.


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