The year is 2023 and Joe Flacco is a Cleveland Brown.
It would have been hard to imagine that sentence being written when Flacco was at the peak of his powers in Baltimore from 2008-2018. But it's true.
Cleveland announced the veteran's signing on Monday afternoon, less than 24 hours after earning a 13-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Initially, Flacco will join the Browns practice squad, with an expectation that he'll eventually be promoted to the active roster.
With franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson sidelined for the remainder of the season, the addition of Flacco raised questions about weather or not the veteran would take over the starting role instead of rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson. In his weekly, Monday press conference, head coach Kevin Stefanski was quick to dispel any rumors.
"Dorian will start [in Denver]," Stefanski asserted. "Joe's role is to support this team. We were able to add a guy with a ton of experience. He'll be great for that room, he'll be great for this team."
In his second career start against the Steelers on Sunday, Thompson-Robinson lifted the Browns to victory with a game-winning drive in the final 80 seconds of regulation. On that drive, the fifth-round pick went four-for-four for 39 yards as he set Dustin Hopkins in a great spot for the game-winning kick.
There were other bright spots for Thompson-Robinson throughout the game. After the first half he had completed 13-of-19 passes for 98 yards and looked fairly comfortable in the pocket. Things got much tighter in the second half as Pittsburgh dared the rookie to air it out deep but he wouldn't, likely by design from Stefanski. Regardless of the Jekyll and Hyde halves, Thompson-Robinson did enough to get the win and keep the starting job.
As for Flacco a week of onboarding awaits as Stefanski and company work to get him up to speed on everything they do. Stefanski made it clear he isn't looking much beyond this week in terms of the Super Bowl champion's role.
Kevin Stefanski says DTR will start for #Browns against Denver. Joe Flacco's role is to support the team.— 𝚂𝚙𝚎𝚗𝚌𝚎𝚛 𝙶𝚎𝚛𝚖𝚊𝚗 (@Spencito_) November 20, 2023
"Workout looked good, he's kept himself in good shape," Stefanski said of Flacco. "Different guys have different skillsets and those type of things. Just a guy who has seen a lot and played in different systems. Feel like he can bring value to that room.
"We're just going to continue to bring Joe along, like we do all of our players. There's a lot of guys that got here after training camp and after the season starter. He's gonna meet with our coaches and get up to speed."