"Listen, those are tough circumstances," Jimmy Haslam said at the NFL's owners meetings. "You can second-guess whether you should have been tougher on discipline or not, etc. I've said before, we've all raised kids that have done things well and not so well. It just didn't work out."
Dee Haslam, a member of the NFL's conduct committee, said Manziel's behavior was "absolutely" disappointing.
"In a perfect world, you want every player to be the perfect leader and the perfect guy, right?" she said. "But it is real life, and these are young, young players. I think, we wish the best for Johnny and [that] he develops into the man he needs to be."
The Browns seem wary of even answering questions about Manziel, whom the team released March 11.
"Honestly, if we can just refrain from those questions," coach Hue Jackson said in the morning. "I don't even want to talk about it. He's in our past."
But an afternoon meeting between the Haslams and the Cleveland media dealt in part with reflecting on how the team handled Manziel, especially because Jackson has emphasized that the team's quarterback has to be the face of the franchise.
"You want your quarterback, just like you want all your players, to represent the organization in a responsible manner," Jimmy Haslam said. "That goes without saying."
Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, long a fan of Manziel, said he wants to help the quarterback. But Jones said Manziel needs to get his life in order before the Cowboys would consider signing him.
"I would in any way offer to help him work to be where we all are rooting for him to be, which is having a successful life and football career," Jones said. "I would do that. You say, 'Well, is that because of football?' Well, I might not have been aware of this had it not been for football."
"You can second-guess whether you should have been tougher on discipline or not, etc. I've said before, we've all raised kids that have done things well and not so well. It just didn't work out."Jimmy Haslam on Johnny Manziel
Jones also said of Manziel, "If it's appropriate within the rules or within the guidelines of the NFL, if we can be of help in the promise of being a part of the NFL through the Cowboys, I certainly look to that. But ... I don't even dare, right now, go into picturing him in a training camp or an OTA or him in a ballgame. You don't go there."
Manziel had a turbulent first season with the Browns in 2014, then spent 10 weeks in rehab after the season. The team supported him, but watched as Manziel spent the final weekend of the season in Las Vegas, missing a medical test for his concussion.
A Dallas grand jury now is deciding whether Manziel should be charged for allegedly abusing his ex-girlfriend.
"I think part of what we're looking for and optimistic what our new group will do is put systems and processes in place where we make better decisions," Jimmy Haslam said.
That new group includes Jackson, director of strategy Paul DePodesta, vice president of football operations Sashi Brown and vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry.
"I'm not sure how much I want to look backwards," Brown said. "But to your point about what you take from every experience is how we can make better decisions, how to make sure that we stay on plan and strategy.
"How to make sure that the processes we put in place in terms of how we're going to get to decisions on draft day, that we're thorough in doing our due diligence on players and factor in the right things as we're making those decisions."
DePodesta, who came to the Browns from major league baseball, said the team will never be perfect, but it must "figure out what it is that we value when we're making those decisions."
Jimmy Haslam said he feels great about the new management team. After firing his last coach after two seasons at the helm and his predecessor after just one, he said he will be patient with this group.
"They're working together extremely well," Haslam said, "and we're going to be very patient with them and give them time to develop the plan that we put together."
ESPN Cowboys reporter Todd Archer contributed to this report.