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QB Joe Flacco taking his role "day-by-day" with the Browns as he adjusts to his new team

Flacco was signed to the practice squad on Nov. 20


In 16 NFL seasons, Joe Flacco had never been through an official team workout since he was coming out of college at Delaware and was preparing for the 2008 NFL Draft.

After he received a call from his agent about working out for the Browns last week, Flacco said he was excited about the opportunity to come to Cleveland and go through the process.

"I got to tell you, you want to go impress," Flacco said. "So, you feel a little bit of something when you're going out there and working out, like I'm sure everybody does. But it was cool, and it was a good workout."

Before Flacco came to Cleveland, he received a call from Gary Kubiak, who praised the Browns and the staff. Kubiak was the offensive coordinator for the Ravens during the 2014 season, when Flacco was in his seventh season with Baltimore.

"I trust Gary's word," Flacco said. "I was only with him one year, but very honest man. And so what he says goes and definitely had a lot of good things to say about it. So, I've seen that so far."

Both his conversation with Kubiak and his workout in Cleveland had an effect, as Flacco was officially signed to the practice squad with the Browns on Nov. 20. Since then, he's been learning the Browns offense and getting acclimated to the team as quickly as he can. He took the field for the first time with the Browns on Wednesday at practice, taking reps behind both rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson and P.J. Walker in the open period, showing off his throwing arm.

Following the season-ending injury to QB Deshaun Watson, the Browns planned to bring in a third quarterback to carry three on their roster between the active roster and practice squad. Not only does Flacco add depth to the quarterback room, but he also brings a level of experience that can help Thompson-Robinson navigate his rookie season.

Flacco has appeared in 183 games with 180 starts in his 16 seasons in the NFL. He's played with the Ravens from 2008-18, the Broncos in 2019 and the Jets from 2020-22. He has completed 3,881 of 6,299 career passes for 61.6 percent, with 232 touchdowns and 147 interceptions. He also has Super Bowl experience, as Flacco led the Ravens to a victory in Super Bowl XLVII and was named Super Bowl MVP. His wealth of knowledge in the league is something not only Thompson-Robinson can benefit from, but also the coaching staff and other players.

"Joe's done a great job. He and I have a lot of mutual people in this business that we know," HC Kevin Stefanski said. "I have not worked with Joe previously, but he has been in a lot of systems. So, somebody that I can talk to about different systems, different coaches, things he's called, things in the past. So, a wealth of knowledge and a great resource for not just the quarterback room but this entire team."

Flacco last played with the Jets during the 2022 season, when he started four games that season. Even in the time that Flacco was away from an NFL team, he found ways to stay in shape as much as possible. Working out is a part of his daily routine at this stage of his career, but he also found ways to continue to throw. While he wasn't throwing to top-speed targets, he would throw a small football in the front yard to his sons.

And Flacco feels like he can still contribute to a team and play. He still has a passion to play the game of football.

"To a certain extent, it's all I know," Flacco said. "I still have a lot of fun doing it. I do feel like I have stuff left in the tank, so I owe it to myself to continue to push forward and try to play the game that I love until I really don't feel like I can do that."

As he adjusts to the Browns, Stefanski said on Monday that Flacco's role from the beginning is to support the team. Stefanski confirmed on Monday that Thompson-Robinson would start at quarterback in Week 12 against the Ravens.

It's the same approach Flacco is taking for the moment.

"I'm a veteran guy that's been around a lot at this point in the season with a team that's doing well," Flacco said. "So, I think there's a lot of different things that I can bring to the table. But I honestly just want to keep it day-to-day and focus on what I can. And right now, that's just kind of learning the offense and becoming a part of the team."

Check out photos of the team working to prepare for the Denver Broncos

Flacco has been in Thompson-Robinson's shoes before when he was a rookie in the NFL with the Ravens and understands what the rookie is going through.

After Flacco was drafted by the Ravens in 2008, Flacco was coming into an organization with quarterbacks Kyle Boller and Troy Smith on the roster. However, Flacco became the starting quarterback in the 2008 season opener.

"You got so much going through your head, and you're worrying about little things, and I'm talking about focusing on the daily grind. And I think there are little things throughout the day that he's probably so focused on too, that the rest of it becomes kind of nonsense," Flacco said. "And if you're able to just focus on that little thing that you're doing at that time, then that's the best way you can kind of keep focus and keep the task at hand the most important. And it looks like he's doing that."

Now that he's here in Cleveland, Flacco is doing what he can to learn the offense, listening during the walkthroughs. He said he's familiar with some of the verbiage that Stefanski uses in the offense, which has made the transition easier. He's also focusing on becoming a part of the locker room, showing to his new teammates that he belongs on a team.

His teammates already see that. Thompson-Robinson is embracing Flacco's presence in the quarterback room and on the field and sees the importance of adding experience to their room.

"Joe coming in here is more of a blessing than anything," Thompson-Robinson said on Wednesday. "Like I said, I'm asking him a bunch of questions. We were chopping it up and stuff this morning. He's in the early meetings with us and me and P.J. (Walker) now, so it's great, man. He's fitting so well. Like I said, I've only known him for just about a day with him being here, so I love Joe. It's been awesome."