CINCINNATI -- Although it formally came from Cleveland Browns director of football operations Sashi Brown, the team's damning statement Tuesday on Johnny Manziel had Hue Jackson's fingerprints all over it.
"We've been clear about expectations for our players on and off the field. Johnny's continual involvement in incidents that run counter to those expectations undermines the hard work of his teammates and the reputation of our organization," Brown said. "His status with our team will be addressed when permitted by league rules. We will have no further comment at this time."
According to ESPN Browns reporter Pat McManamon, Manziel will be released when the new league year begins in March to account for salary-cap ramifications.
Jackson, the Browns' head coach who was hired last month after a two-season stint as the Bengals' offensive coordinator, is a no-nonsense coach who's fair enough to offer second chances, but seldom allows a third if conditions don't warrant it. Based upon Manziel's exhaustive list of non-football incidents, he's already had fourth, fifth and sixth chances that Jackson probably wouldn't have permitted had he been in charge sooner.
Accountability has long been important to Jackson. While the coach is quick to publicly shoulder the blame when his players mess up, saying it's on him to put them in better positions to succeed, behind closed doors, he straightforwardly hammers home to the individual player what he must do to perform better.
Jackson comes from the old-school belief system that says virtually anything his players do, on the field or off it, reflects directly upon himself. When Jeremy Hill was late for a team meeting in San Francisco the night before the Week 15 game, Hill was benched for the first quarter.
Brown's statement was a clear indication of a regime change in Cleveland. Just know that his words, much to Manziel's chagrin, are an indication his head coach is in lockstep with him, too.