Thaddeus Lewis was in a bit of a rush after Monday's practice. He had to make a phone call.
Lewis, a fifth-year veteran, considers the Browns quarterback room to be the closest and tightest-knit he's ever experienced. One of the four reasons why is Connor Shaw, the second-year signal-caller out of South Carolina who won over a lot of teammates with his gutsy performance in last year's season finale against Baltimore.
Lewis made an immediate beeline to his phone Monday to check on Shaw, who will soon undergo surgery on an injured thumb on his throwing hand. Shaw's expected to be out for a significant period of time, and his teammates are hurting for him because of it.
"It's very tough," Lewis said. "We're a very, very close-knit group and (it's hard) to see one of our brothers go down. We'll leave here and check on him right now. That's how much he's in our thoughts."
Shaw, who spent all but one week on the practice squad last year, suffered the injury in Thursday's preseason opener against Washington, a game in which he completed 5-of-10 passes for 64 yards. His injury came to light Sunday, as Shaw tried to tough it out but ultimately could not go forward without surgery.
Browns coach Mike Pettine said Shaw's injury does not change his plans at quarterback, where the Browns will keep a minimum of two on the 53-man roster. It simply gives him "one less to choose from."
"We'll fill out the roster with the best players after that," Pettine said.
For now, the Browns quarterback room is down to three with Josh McCown, Johnny Manziel and Lewis. The head veteran of the group took Shaw's injury particularly hard after working with him and seeing him improve since OTAs kicked off in May.
"Just heartbroken, just heartbroken," McCown said. "Really felt like he was turning the corner and doing some good things, There's no substitute for reps. Prayers go out to him. Just heartbroken."