Jake Delhomme is back where he started.
The veteran quarterback, who signed as a free agent with Cleveland to revive his career but has been slowed for nearly two months by a sprained ankle, will start Sunday as the Browns (3-7) host the Carolina Panthers (1-9), Delhomme’s former team.
Jimmy Clausen will start for Carolina, meanwhile, after being cleared to play following a concussion.
The Panthers released Delhomme in March after an 18-interception season in 2009, and they drafted Clausen in April.
“Obviously, Jake was down here in Carolina for a long time and did great things down here,” said Clausen, who is 0-4 as a starter. “He’s one of the quarterbacks I like to watch and get bits and pieces that they do to try to help my game. It’ll be good to finally meet him for the first time.”
Browns coach Eric Mangini took the unusual step of officially choosing Delhomme his starter on Friday. Mangini typically waits until just before game time before revealing his starting quarterback in order to keep the opposition off-balance.
But perhaps out of respect for Delhomme, Mangini said the 35-year-old will start.
Delhomme began the season as Cleveland’s starter but got hurt in the first half of the season opener at Tampa Bay. He came back too early and reinjured his ankle a few weeks later when Seneca Wallace suffered the same high-ankle sprain.
Delhomme has been inactive for eight games, but he’s first on Cleveland’s depth chart after rookie Colt McCoy, who went 2-3 as a starter, rolled his ankle last week at Jacksonville and is out indefinitely.
“The revolving door,” Browns offensive coordinator Brian Daboll said of his quarterback situation.
Delhomme, who played seven seasons with Carolina, said he’s not looking for any revenge against the team he led to a Super Bowl in the 2003-04 season.
“I had my chance there and we had a good run,” Delhomme said. “That’s kind of how I feel, and I just want to go out and play for this team.”
Clausen practiced for a third straight day Friday after missing last Sunday’s loss to Baltimore, and coach John Fox says doctors have signed off on his return. Clausen, who was injured on the final offensive play Nov. 14 at Tampa Bay, was listed as probable.
Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall didn’t practice because of a hamstring injury and is unlikely to play Sunday against the Raiders. The Jaguars will be without left tackle Eugene Monroe against the Giants. Monroe apparently sustained a concussion during last week’s win over Cleveland. He failed a concussion test Friday and was ruled out for Sunday’s game. Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew (abdomen) and receiver Mike Sims-Walker (ankle) are questionable. Bills rookie running back C.J. Spiller is questionable to play against the Steelers. Giants running back Brandon Jacobs and Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly were fined $20,000 each by the NFL. Jacobs was fined for unsportsmanlike conduct toward fans, and Kelly was fined for unnecessary roughness on a special-teams play. Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel (knee) is listed as questionable to play against the Bears on Sunday. Giants left tackle Shawn Andrews is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. He spent Friday in a hospital for treatment of a chronic back condition. The Browns signed punter Reggie Hodges to a two-year contract extension.