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Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield undergoes shoulder surgery

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, hampered by a left shoulder injury, threw seven interceptions in his last three games.Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield had successful surgery Wednesday to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, an injury that affected his play and led to a disappointing season in Cleveland.

Mayfield posted a video on social media following the procedure, which was done in Los Angeles.

“Surgery went great,” Mayfield said in the clip while sitting on a bed with his non-throwing arm in a sling. “It was a complete success. Had a great medical team. Took care of me and checked that box off to get this fixed, and now it’s on the way to the road to recovery.

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“This is one of those steps to get back to my true self.”

The operation was performed by Dr. Orr Limpisvasti, the team physician for the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks who examined Mayfield’s shoulder during the season.

Baker Mayfield and the Browns missed out on the postseason.David Richard/Associated Press

Mayfield will need months of rehab but is expected to be fully recovered by the time the Browns hold offseason workouts — assuming, of course, he’s still with the team.

Mayfield initially was hurt in Week 2 against the Texans while trying to make a tackle after throwing an interception. He continued to play while wearing a protective harness and then aggravated the injury and sustained a fracture to his shoulder against the Cardinals on Oct. 17.

Partly because of the injury affecting his throwing mechanics, Mayfield struggled and his uneven play contributed to the Browns (8-9) falling well short of expectations or making the playoffs.

After being sacked nine times on Jan. 3 in a loss at Pittsburgh, Mayfield, who threw seven interceptions in his last three games, said he was “pretty damn beat up” and decided to skip the season finale.

Mayfield’s regression this season has spawned speculation that the Browns may move forward without the 2018 No. 1 overall pick. The team has not approached the quarterback’s agent about a long-term contract extension. He’s signed through next season.

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Last week, however, both coach Kevin Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry offered support to Mayfield by saying they expect Mayfield to be the starter in 2022 and to “bounce back.”

That doesn’t mean the team won’t explore other options at quarterback via trade of free agency during the offseason, but Berry stressed the team’s time with Mayfield gives them faith he’ll rebound next season.

“We know his work ethic,” Berry said. “We know his drive and we have seen him as a talented passer in this league. We are looking forward to him getting healthy and continuing to make improvements. We expect him to bounce back next year.”

Eagles to stick with Hurts

The Eagles say Jalen Hurts will be their starting quarterback in 2022.

“We talk about Jalen and the growth he had, really as a first-year starter and second-year player, and leading this team to the playoffs,” general manager Howie Roseman said, three days after a loss to the Buccaneers in the wild-card round. “I’m tremendously impressed by his work ethic and his leadership. The last time we talked was during camp and we said we wanted to see him take the bull by the horn, and he certainly did that.”

Jalen Hurts received a vote of confidence from the Philly braintrust Wednesday.Don Montague/Associated Press

Of course, despite answering “yes” twice on questions about Hurts returning as the starter, Roseman could change his mind. If an attractive option emerges in the coming months through trade or the draft, the Eagles can still pursue another QB, and explain that circumstances changed.

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Last year at this time, as Nick Sirianni was being hired to coach, Roseman and Sirianni said their preference was to work things out with veteran quarterback Carson Wentz, who had been benched in favor of Hurts down the stretch in 2020.

The Eagles would have avoided the NFL’s largest-ever dead cap charge, $33.8 million, by keeping Wentz, but he told them he would rather play elsewhere. They sent the quarterback to Indianapolis for what turned out to be a first-round pick this year and a third last year.

The Eagles have the 15th, 16th, and 19th overall selections in the 2022 draft, including their own pick, Miami’s, and the one from the Colts.

Prescott apologizes

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott issued an apology for having claimed that Dallas fans deserved praise for throwing debris from stands at the officiating crew at the end of Sunday’s home playoff loss to the 49ers.

“I deeply regret the comments I made regarding the officials after the game on Sunday,” Prescott wrote on Twitter. “I was caught up in the emotion of a disappointing loss and my words were uncalled for and unfair.”

The 49ers’ 23-17 victory ended in bizarre fashion when Prescott ran with the ball and got tackled as the seconds ticked down. With the Cowboys out of timeouts and needing a touchdown, they quickly assembled at the line of scrimmage in an effort to snap the ball and immediately spike it to stop the clock for one more play. The Cowboys then lost precious seconds when umpire Ramon George pushed his way through its offensive line to pick up the ball and re-spot it. The Cowboys still had just enough time to snap the ball, and the game ended as Prescott spiked it.

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As game officials and members of both teams ran off the field at AT&T Stadium, some fans threw items at them, and Cowboys defensive lineman DeMarcus Lawrence had to use his helmet to swat aside a water bottle. After the game, Prescott said it was “sad” to think that fans could treat players in that manner.

When a reporter then suggested to the 28-year-old quarterback that the debris was being aimed instead at officials, Prescott said of the fans, “Credit to them, then.”

With a couple of days to reconsider his stance, Prescott took to social media to express contrition.

“I hold the NFL officials in the highest regard and have always respected their professionalism and the difficulty of their jobs,” he tweeted. “The safety of everyone who attends a game or participates on the field of a sporting event is a very serious matter.”

A spokesman for the NFL did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Prescott’s apology.

Cowboys executive Stephen Jones, whose father, Jerry Jones, owns the team, described the fans’ actions as “unfortunate.”

“That’s not the way I see our fans,” Jones said in an appearance Monday on Dallas’s 105.3 The Fan. “I think we’re a class act, and I just think there’s no place for things like that. I understand people being frustrated, but I don’t understand throwing things onto the field where people can get injured.”

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Arians to appeal fine

Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians says he’ll appeal a $50,000 fine imposed by the NFL for slapping the helmet of one of his players during Sunday’s playoff victory over the Eagles.

Arians said he was trying to prevent safety Andrew Adams from drawing a penalty for pulling players out of a pile when he stepped a short distance off the sideline and struck the player’s helmet with his hand before trying to push Adams away from Eagles players.

At the bottom of the pile, the Buccaneers’ Ross Cockrell had recovered a muffed punt, giving the defending Super Bowl champions the ball at the the Eagles’ 48-yard line. Five plays later, Tom Brady threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski, putting Tampa Bay up, 24-0.

The Buccaneers host the Rams in the divisional round on Sunday.

“I will appeal it,” Arians said Wednesday. “It ain’t got nothing to do with the game, so we’re good.”

The day after the incident, Arians said he didn’t feel he had done anything wrong.

“No, I’ve seen enough dumb. You can’t pull guys out of a pile,” the 69-year-old coach said. “We just got a big play, great field position, and he’s trying to pull a guy out of a pile, and I was trying to knock him off of that guy so he didn’t get a penalty.”

Motion filed

The NFL filed a motion asking a Nevada court to dismiss former Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s lawsuit against the league, saying the accusations that the league leaked Gruden’s old, offensive e-mails are “baseless” and “should be dismissed for failure to state a single viable cause of action.”

The league responded Wednesday to the suit Gruden filed in district court in Clark County, Nev., in November. The NFL filed a motion to dismiss the case and also asked the court to stay that motion until it first rules on whether the case should be moved to arbitration.

Gruden resigned as coach of the Raiders in October with more than six seasons remaining on his 10-year, $100 million contract.

He claimed a “malicious and orchestrated campaign” was used by the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell to destroy Gruden’s career by leaking the old e-mails that included racist, misogynistic, and homophobic language.

The e-mails were sent to former Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen and others from 2011-18 during Gruden’s time as an announcer at ESPN. The e-mails came from a set of 650,000 e-mails obtained by the league in June during an investigation into the workplace culture of the Washington Football Team.

Raiders owner Mark Davis said in October he had reached a settlement with Gruden over the final six-plus years of his contract. Davis did not reveal the terms of the settlement.