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Browns QB Deshaun Watson out, P.J. Walker to start vs. 49ers

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will sit out his second straight game this weekend due to a right shoulder injury, the team announced Friday.

P.J. Walker will be under center this Sunday when the Browns (2-2) host the San Francisco 49ers (5-0). Rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson struggled in place of Watson on Oct. 1, completing just 19 of 36 passes for 121 yards with three interceptions in a 28-3 setback to the Baltimore Ravens.

Watson, 28, reportedly is dealing with a contusion to his rotator cuff in his right shoulder after being sacked 12 times in three games this season. He didn’t practice Wednesday and Thursday and reportedly could miss more than a month.

“He’s making progress,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said of Watson. “He’s getting better. He’s very disappointed. He wants to play. He wants to be able to compete with his teammates, so he’s just got to focus on getting better every day.”

Walker will face off against 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who was the Panthers’ defensive coordinator and then interim coach during Walker’s three seasons at Carolina. Walker was benched after Wilks briefly gave him a chance to start in 2022.

Walker, 28, joined the Browns’ practice squad on Aug. 30.

He played 15 games, including seven starts, for the Panthers from 2020-22. He completed 131 of 228 pass attempts (57.5 percent) for 1,461 yards, five touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a 63.9 passer rating.

The Browns ruled out five-time Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio (knee), ending his consecutive games streak at 102. He’s started all 133 NFL games in which he’s played.

Michael Dunn will start at left guard in place of Bitonio, Stefanski said.

Wide receiver Cedric Tillman (hip) has been ruled out for Sunday’s game, while tight end David Njoku (face, hand) and center Ethan Pocic (chest, knee, foot) are listed as questionable.

–Field Level Media

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