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New Browns QB Joe Flacco, 38, says 'I can still play'

BEREA, Ohio -- Despite being 38 years old, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Flacco believes he still has gas left in the tank.

"I definitely believe I can still play," Flacco said Wednesday, before his first practice with the Cleveland Browns.

After sitting out more than half the season waiting for an opportunity, Flacco finally signed with Cleveland on Monday.

The Browns were looking to add a third quarterback with Deshaun Watson out for the season because of a fracture in his throwing shoulder. Watson underwent surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Flacco was the only quarterback the Browns worked out to replace Watson on the roster. Flacco will begin his tenure in Cleveland as a backup behind rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who, in his second career start Sunday, led the Browns on a winning field goal drive in a 13-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cleveland also has quarterback PJ Walker on its roster.

"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 I that I can bring to the table.

"Whatever my role ends up being and wherever this takes me, then I'll do my best at that."

Flacco has thrown for 42,320 yards and 232 touchdowns in his career. He won the Super Bowl in 2013 while with the Baltimore Ravens and was named Super Bowl MVP.

Flacco most recently started games for the New York Jets during the 2022 season. In Week 2 last season, Flacco led the Jets to an improbable fourth-quarter comeback in Cleveland. In that game, Flacco threw four touchdown passes, including the game-winner to Garrett Wilson with 22 seconds remaining. On Wednesday, Flacco called that "the craziest" game he had ever played in.

Flacco said he hoped to sign somewhere this season but admitted he began to doubt that opportunity would come.

"As I sat at home for most of this year, I was probably beginning to lose a little bit of faith in that," he said.

Flacco said his workout with the Browns on Friday was the first he'd had since he was coming out of the University of Delaware in 2008 before the NFL draft.

"I was excited to do it," he said. "You want to go impress. It was cool and it was a good workout."

Flacco spent a decade with the Ravens, one of Cleveland's AFC North rivals. Despite that, he said it didn't feel strange to be in the Browns' locker room.

"I think it would probably be a little bit different if I was coming here four or five years ago," said Flacco, who has also had stints with the Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos.

Despite his Baltimore roots, Flacco said his four sons, especially his 10-year-old, already had a long Christmas list with "like 50 Browns things on it."

The Browns face the Broncos in Denver on Sunday.