Their starting quarterback can't practice because of a concussion. His backup has a bad right elbow. The Browns are heading into their home opener with another quarterback conundrum.

Josh McCown, who sustained a concussion on Cleveland's opening drive of the season on Sunday against the Jets, is following the NFL's protocol on head injuries and won't be medically cleared to practice until Friday — at the earliest.

In the interim, coach Mike Pettine said Johnny Manziel will take snaps with Cleveland's starters, but the team will carefully monitor him because of lingering elbow tendinitis.

Even if McCown is cleared and can practice, there is no guarantee he will play against Tennessee.

"We'll be prepared either way," Pettine said.

McCown was injured when he launched himself toward the end zone on a run and was hit by two Jets defenders, spinning him in the air. Pettine said the 36-year-old McCown is allowed to be outside on the field to watch practice, but he was not seen during the portion of Wednesday's workout open to reporters.

Manziel replaced an injured McCown and threw a touchdown pass, but had three turnovers in Cleveland's 31-10 loss. Manziel has been dealing with a sore elbow and Pettine said the Browns will be careful not to overload him with throws.

"It's just being prudent with it," Pettine said, "just kind of ramp him back up. We feel he's past it. There's still going to be some natural soreness, but we just don't want to jump right back in and 'Hey, he's going to take starting reps and overload him.' Especially early in practice."

Mallett to start

Ryan Mallett reportedly will start at quarterback for the Texans on Sunday at Carolina.Brian Hoyer started the season-opener, but had two turnovers early and was benched in the fourth quarter. Mallett took over and led the Texans on two scoring drives in the last six minutes of a 27-20 loss to Kansas City.

Deflators reinstated

The NFL has reinstated the two New England Patriots employees cited by the league for their involvement in the use of deflated footballs in the AFC championship game.

Equipment assistant John Jastremski and officials locker room attendant Jim McNally were reinstated after the team requested they be allowed to return. An NFL statement says: "The Patriots have satisfied the league's requirements for reinstatement and the league has granted permission for the employees to return."

Favre a Hall candidate

Brett Favre, Terrell Owens and Alan Faneca are among the 108 modern-day nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2016.

All three are first-time nominees in voting that will culminate Feb. 6, the night before the Super Bowl.

Other first-year-eligible nominees are safety Lawyer Milloy; running backs Brian Westbrook and Clinton Portis; placekicker John Carney; and linebackers Keith Bulluck and Mike Vrabel.

Pacman Jones fined

Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones was fined $35,000 by the NFL for his personal foul against Raiders receiver Amari Cooper during their opener Sunday. Jones got on top of Cooper, knocked off his helmet and slammed his head against it at the end of a play during the second quarter, drawing a penalty for unnecessary roughness. He wasn't ejected, and a scrum resulted after the play ended. Jones said he's going to appeal the fine.


•Starting safety Morgan Burnett returned to practice for the Packers after missing the season opener against Chicago because of a calf injury.

•Rams running backs Tre Mason and Todd Gurley were full practice participants.

•Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas (broken bone in hand) has been cleared for limited practice.

Derek Carr was a full participant in practice for the Raiders three days after leaving the season opener because of an injured throwing hand.