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Austin Davis might hear from Brett Favre -- when hunting season ends

BEREA, Ohio -- Inflammatory or controversial he is not.

Austin Davis is a quarterback, pure and simple. He’ll put in his work, do some more and then prepare a little more. He’s confident enough to sign a contract extension with a team that had a first-round draft pick on the roster, but realistic enough to know it all comes down to how he plays on Sunday.

Davis will make his first start for the Cleveland Browns on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals as he replaces Josh McCown (broken collarbone), who replaced Johnny Manziel (disciplined for off-field actions) in the never-ending Browns quarterback carousel.

Davis is the 24th different name on that infamous jersey that lists all QB starters since 1999, and he had to smile when it was brought to his attention.

“I’ve heard that number tossed around,” he said Wednesday.

But he then said he wasn’t around for the other 21, so he couldn’t say much about it.

Which sums up the Browns' situation at the most important position on the team: caught in the struggles of the past, while trying to move to a successful future.

Mike Pettine has had to use three different starters in each of his two seasons as coach. With five games left, it is not out of the realm of possibility that he would use a fourth this season.

“Less than ideal” were the words he used about the constant juggling.

But he also was adamant that Davis had earned the right to start on Sunday with his work leading up to Monday night’s quagmire of a loss to Baltimore and with his play against the Ravens.

“There was a lot discussed,” Pettine said. “I wouldn’t say from our end as a staff it was that difficult.”

Davis acknowledged the difficulty in playing the quarterback position but said his key is being as prepared as he can be.

“The fact of letting people down just bothers me,” he said.

He also won’t overcomplicate what he needs to do.

“I know it sounds simple. I know it seems elementary,” he said. “Throw completions, don’t take sacks and don’t turn it over.”

He needs only to look at Southern Miss history if he wants any help. Davis broke all of Brett Favre’s records there, and the future Hall of Famer has been in touch with Davis periodically in his career.

“We text every once in a while,” Davis said, “but I wouldn’t say that we’re talking on the phone every night.”

Favre has been effusive in his praise of Davis, but the two have not been in touch this week.

“I don’t think he gets cell reception deer hunting in the woods,” Davis said. “He’s unreachable right now, but when he comes out of the foxhole, I’m sure he follows along. I know he has had a lot of nice things to say, and I appreciate it from such a legend and such a great player.”