- Associated Press - Thursday, October 14, 2010

BEREA, OHIO (AP) - The Cleveland Browns have new team colors: bruised and orange.

As many as seven starters, including quarterbacks Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace and running back Peyton Hillis, missed their second straight practice on Thursday as the Browns, banged up on both sides of the line, prepared to face the well-rested Pittsburgh Steelers.

The injury bug has bitten deep into the Browns this season, and won’t let go.

“It’s football,” Wallace said. “Injuries happen.”

They seem to be coming at an inordinate rate in Cleveland.

Wallace, a career backup who made four starts while Delhomme recovered from a high ankle sprain in the season opener, confirmed he suffered the same injury when he was sacked in the first half of Sunday’s loss to Atlanta. Wallace entered the locker room on Thursday wearing a plastic protective walking boot, which has become something of a fashion trend with the Browns.

“A lot of people are wearing boots around here. Mike Holmgren started that,” Wallace said, referring to the Browns president who recently shed his boot after undergoing foot surgery this summer. “He was walking around with the boot earlier in training camp and nobody had a boot on. Now it seems like it’s the thing.”

With both of his experienced quarterbacks limping and potentially out for several weeks, Browns coach Eric Mangini is expected to start rookie Colt McCoy against the Steelers, coming off their bye week.

On Wednesday, Mangini said he was “leaning” toward going with McCoy, the winningest quarterback in NCAA history.

Mangini was asked if he had tipped further.

“I’d say that the lean is more pronounced,” Mangini said before practice. “I was really happy with what he did yesterday.”

McCoy got the majority of the snaps with the first-team offense on Wednesday, and he worked with the starters again Thursday during the 30 minutes of practice open to the media. Mangini was impressed with McCoy’s composure on the field during the workout, which ended with McCoy leading the Browns in their post-practice “breakdown” huddle for the first time as a pro.

“That’s probably what he was used to doing for years and years being in that role, and he just fell back into that role,” Mangini said.

In all, nine players _ down from Wednesday’s 11 _ sat out practice Thursday and four others were limited. In addition to Delhomme, Wallace and Hillis (thigh), the Browns‘ walking wounded includes: defensive linemen Shaun Rogers (elbow), and Robaire Smith (back), center Alex Mack (shoulder), guard Floyd Womack (knee), tackle John St. Clair (ankle) and tight end Robert Royal (shoulder).

Wide receiver/returner Joshua Cribbs (ankle), safety Abram Elam (knee) and safety Nick Sorensen (calf) missed part of practice.

Story Continues →