Friday, July 25, 2014
Johnny Manziel hears Browns' message
By Pat McManamon
BEREA, Ohio -- The definite impression that came out of Friday's news conferences with the Cleveland Browns wasn't complicated: Message delivered, message heard.
Or seemingly heard.
Johnny Manziel carried himself with the aura of a guy who had been dressed down after arriving for training camp. The team that had publicly supported him through so much evidently hit its limit when Manziel continued to post and pose for party photos throughout the offseason.
The Browns went from a team deciding on how to handle reps on Monday to a team that announced on Friday that Brian Hoyer would get the first-team reps for the first two days of camp. They did that with coach Mike Pettine saying he was impressed with the work Manziel had done with the playbook and with his conditioning while he was gone.
While Hoyer carried himself as a starter ready to compete, Manziel came across as a bit humbled.
Pettine would not get into details of any particular conversation, but it seemed that he and general manager Ray Farmer had a get together with Manziel. (Pettine isn't known as "Blunt Force Trauma" for nothing.) Manziel admitted to rookie mistakes and said he had to do better when it came to acting like a professional.
He'll still get a chance to earn the starting job; if he's the better player it would hurt the team not to play him. But the Browns sure seemed to convey the message that they truly believe in Hoyer, and they did grow weary of constant questions about floating swans and spraying Champagne bottles.
While Manziel sounded like he had been castigated, he also defended his right to go out and enjoy himself. Which raises the interesting question of whether he regrets going out, or regrets being photographed when he went out.
He has the right to enjoy himself, of course, but he also has to know that whatever he does reflects on the team and his teammates. He also has to know, as several Hall of Famers have made clear, that he is the team's quarterback 24 hours per day.
Manziel partied at Texas A&M, and he played well. He may be able to do the same with the Browns.
But it appears that even the Browns had their fill of antics.
As Pettine said, "It's time for football."