BEREA, Ohio — 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 by a sprained ankle for nearly two months, will start Sunday as the Browns host Carolina, Delhomme's former team.
Coach Eric Mangini took the unusual step Friday of officially choosing Delhomme his starter. Mangini typically waits until just before game-time before revealing his starting QB, 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 he got hurt in the first half of the opener against the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium. 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 since, but again is first on Cleveland's depth chart after rookie Colt McCoy rolled his ankle last week at Jacksonville and is out.
"The revolving door," offensive coordinator Brian Daboll said.
Delhomme was waived by Carolina after seven seasons.
"Jake was one of my best friends when he was here as a Panther," Carolina tackle Jordan Gross said. "He just did so many things right, practiced hard. He answered so many questions and played well. I wish he was still here with me, selfishly, just because of the friendship we had. But it's different now, and he's up there doing well. It's good for him."
Also, the Browns signed punter Reggie Hodges to a two-year contract extension.
'MARQUEE' GAME LOOMS: The hype machine is already at full throttle, loaded with enough coins to keep the vibe going until the ball is kicked off Dec. 6.
Jets coach Rex Ryan injected a few quarters, looking ahead to the first-place showdown with the Patriots for control of the AFC East after both won easily Thursday to improve to 9-2, tied for the league's best mark.
"It's the marquee game of the year," said Ryan, whose team is coming off a 26-10 win over the Bengals. "When you look at both teams and all that at 9-2, it's not going to get much bigger than that. So the fact that it's a divisional game, I guess the only way it would be better if it was the last game of the regular season. But this is pretty good right here."
DOLPHINS: Receiver Brandon Marshall (hamstring) didn't practice again and is unlikely to travel for Sunday's game at Oakland.
GIANTS: Left tackle Shawn Andrews spent a second day in a hospital for a chronic back condition, leaving second-year player Will Beatty as the likely starter against Jacksonville.
JAGUARS: Left tackle Eugene Monroe failed a concussion test and was ruled out for Sunday's game against the Giants.
PANTHERS: Rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen was cleared to play after a concussion and will face the Browns on Sunday.
SEAHAWKS: Marcus Trufant cleared concussion tests and is set to play Sunday against Kansas City. Trufant took a knee to the head from Saints running back Chris Ivory, knocking the safety out of a game last weekend. The status of receiver Mike Williams (foot), a former Plant High standout, was questionable. Also, the team claimed defensive end Clifton Geathers off waivers from the Dolphins and placed tight end Anthony McCoy on injured reserve.
TITANS: ESPN.com reported that only one of coach Jeff Fisher's assistants is under contract after this season. "We are in the process of extending contracts for the entire staff," the website quoted Fisher as saying after practice. "I don't comment on negotiations other than to say we're in the process."
FINES: The league fined Giants running back Brandon Jacobs (unsportsmanlike conduct toward fans) and Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (unnecessary roughness) $20,000 each. The Newark Star-Ledger reported that Jacobs' violation stemmed from making obscene gestures and yelling obscenities at Eagles fans in Philadelphia.
LABOR: DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, told Bloomberg television that if owners lock out players next year, it would cost each NFL city "at the very least about $160 million to $170 million." League spokesman Greg Aiello challenged Smith's numbers, saying they came from union projections rather than a government agency, investment bank or noted economist.
HALL OF FAME: The Pro Football Hall of Fame will announce the 25 semifinalists for the Class of 2011 on Sunday. Former Florida State standout Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk and Jerome Bettis are among former players eligible for the first time.