Joe Flacco isn't just back on an NFL team after signing to the Browns' practice squad this week. The 38-year-old quarterback could soon be in contention to start for Cleveland, depending on how things shake out with Deshaun Watson sidelined for the rest of the year. Even so, Flacco admitted Wednesday that he expected to be on a team far earlier than November.
"I have a lot of pride in myself," he told reporters of the apparent lack of interest from around the NFL. "I think (I was) very surprised, at least early on and throughout the course of the offseason. But as the season kind of goes along, I think the surprise turns into other things and you're not necessarily surprised anymore.
"This is my 16th year," he continued, "you've seen a million things, so to be super surprised by something, you probably don't have your head in the right spot. You shouldn't be surprised by anything anymore."
Was Flacco right to be taken aback by his extended stretch without a team? Perhaps. Although he's approaching 39 and hasn't been a full-time starter since 2018, the former Super Bowl champion has 180 career starts under his belt. But he's found mixed results in recent work as a backup, going just 3-14 in his last 17 games as QB1. While best known for an 11-year run with the Ravens, Flacco most recently served as a reserve for the Jets, opening 2022 under center in place of an injured Zach Wilson.
Rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson will make a second straight start for the Browns against the Broncos in Week 12, but Cleveland has already rotated Watson replacements this year, swapping out veteran No. 2 P.J. Walker. It stands to reason Flacco could also receive a chance to lead the Browns' offense before the 2023 campaign is over.