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'All signs' point toward Josh McCown's return vs. Jets

Hue Jackson stopped just short of naming Browns quarterback Josh McCown the starter for Sunday's game against the Jets.

"All signs are pointing in that direction," the head coach said Thursday.

McCown, whom Jackson said has been medically cleared to play, took more reps with Cleveland's first-team offense after missing the past five weeks with a shoulder/collarbone injury.

"He had another good practice today and worked hard," Jackson said, "so I think we're really trending that way right now."

While Jackson and the Browns have been encouraged by McCown's progress, Jackson said he's waiting to see just a bit more before naming a starter for this weekend.  

"He has had an injury, too. When you go practice, things happen sometimes," Jackson said.

"Things can change, and I have been in this now all year and have been shocked. We get up to the day before and here is somebody out, so again until I know for sure – and I feel, that's why I said I feel really good that it is heading that way, but I want to be for sure from after practice and talking to our medical staff exactly where everything is."  

To be sure, McCown's return to the lineup for a Cleveland team that saw rookie quarterback Cody Kessler suffer a concussion in last week's loss to the Bengals is a welcomed one.

Kessler started the past five straight games after McCown suffered his injury against the Ravens and was impressive in the process. But with the rookie from USC still in the league's concussion protocol, it's unclear if or when Kessler will be cleared.

"It's all hands on deck with everybody. We need everybody that can play and can be available to go out there and play their best. Like I said, it's no different for myself. You do everything you can to help until you're available. When you're available, if your number's called, you go out there and help that way," McCown said Wednesday.

"Whether it's me on the field helping us get over that hump or me on the sideline helping whoever is out there get over the hump, that's the key."

McCown also offers the Browns a veteran presence as they search for their first win of the season.

"I think it will be a huge boost. He obviously has played well for us when he has been in these past couple years," left tackle Joe Thomas said. "To be able to have him back would be awesome since the quarterbacks that are healthy right now do not have nearly as much experience that Josh does."

Asked what McCown might be able to provide the Browns, wide receiver Terrelle Pryor pointed to the quarterback's emotional postgame press conference after that loss to Baltimore.

"I think you guys all know that, I think you all saw his press conference I don't need to really hit on that anymore," Pryor said, "but just with all the other guys we have, I'm excited to play with Josh, he's a veteran, savvy, smart, team leader. I know he'll play his heart out."

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