Browns QB Cody Kessler set to start vs. Tennessee after chest/ribs injury

Cody Kessler will pick up right where he left off.

The Browns rookie quarterback is slated to start against Tennessee after suffering a chest/ribs injury last weekend.

Kessler, who'll make his fourth consecutive start, had been adamant his goal was to play despite a painful injury that sidelined him for most of a loss to the Patriots.

"That was my mindset the whole time and, like I said, I don't let anything kind of surprise me or catch me off guard I just stay prepared the whole time," said Kessler, who returned to practice Wednesday.

"If it's me starting I'm ready to go and if it's not I just wanted to stay ready. But yeah, it's exciting to get back out and obviously last week was unfortunate the game got cut a little bit short for me, so it's exciting."

Head coach Hue Jackson said Kessler practiced full-go Thursday. "I think he's ready to go," said Jackson, who said the team remains unsure whether or not they'll also have veteran quarterback Josh McCown (shoulder/collarbone) back this week.

While Kessler has been deemed healthy enough to play, it won't be completely without pain. He said he still feels that hit from New England linebacker Dont'a Hightower, though it's "starting to go away each day, it's getting better and better" thanks to the Browns training staff.

That consistent improvement, Kessler said, is what helped Jackson and Co. feel comfortable with inserting him back into the lineup.

"Just throwing and seeing how it felt in practice yesterday and today and it felt better each day. I think that's what made coach Jackson feel more comfortable was that I told him it's feeling better and better each day, it keeps improving," Kessler said.

Kessler, who was thrust into the starting quarterback role after back-to-back injuries to McCown and Robert Griffin III, has been steady through three games, completing 67 percent of his passes for 529 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

"The more he grows," Jackson said Monday, "the better he gets."

Kessler has also earned the respect and admiration of his teammates, both young and old.

"I've been singing his praises since he has been in there. I think we have consistently moved the football since Cody has taken over," veteran wide receiver Andrew Hawkins said. "That's tough to do as a rookie who was a third-round quarterback and third in the depth chart three weeks ago."

"He loves playing with us, and we love playing for him," right guard John Greco.

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