Browns' Mayfield playing in preseason finale against Falcons

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CLEVELAND (AP) — Baker Mayfield will get a summer tune-up after all.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski surprisingly said Friday that Mayfield and some “select” Cleveland starters will play in Sunday night's nationally televised exhibition finale against the Atlanta Falcons.

Not wanting to risk injuries, Stefanski had kept his starting quarterback and the majority of his starters on the sideline for the team's first two preseason games.

"We’re just making decisions individually based on who needs to get some reps, making those decisions based on these practice reps, based on the joint practice reps, based on game reps,” Stefanski said following practice. “So we’ll hold some other guys out.”

There have been a range of methods — and opinions — across the league for playing starters in preseason games. Most teams have played their first-stringers at least a little, often giving their starting QBs a series or two.

Stefanski did not say how long Mayfield will be in the game or which other starters will see action with him.

"We have a plan, but I want to see how it goes,” he said.

Mayfield will likely be protected by Cleveland's offensive line, one of the league's best units. But Stefanski was coy about that as well.

“I’m not going to go through who’s playing, who’s not,” he said. “I gave you Baker. You’ve got to tune in Sunday night. NBC wants me to keep it a secret.”

Last week, the Browns held two joint practices against the New York Giants before beating them in an exhibition game. Cleveland's first-teamers played extensively in the heated workouts with the Giants but then watched from the sideline Sunday.

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More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Tom Withers, The Associated Press

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