this Nov. 15th file photo, Cleveland Browns
quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) plays during an NFL
football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, in
Pittsburgh. Browns coach Mike Pettine says he's
disappointed with Manziel's off-field behavior and may
bench the quarterback.
BEREA, Ohio -
The Browns believe sacking Johnny Manziel themselves will do
One day after
taking Manziel's starting job from him for breaking his
promise to stay out of the spotlight and behave during the bye
week, Browns coach Mike Pettine explained his decision was
Manziel because Johnny Football didn't keep his word.
the trust, the accountability part of it," Pettine said.
"This is where we had an obvious shortcoming."
dumped as Cleveland's starter and dropped to third string by
Pettine, who was angry after a video emerged of the
second-year QB partying last week in Texas while the Browns
were off. Before Manziel left town, Pettine said he made it
clear to Manziel that he needed to act in a responsible
manner, one befitting a starting NFL quarterback.
didn't happen, Pettine had no choice but to stick Manziel
behind starter Josh McCown and Austin Davis on Cleveland's
depth chart. Manziel could be inactive Monday night when the
Browns host the Baltimore Ravens, depriving the 2012 Heisman
Trophy winner a chance to showcase his skills and progress on
one of pro football's biggest stages.
demotion, the Browns haven't given up on Manziel.
a heavy dose of adversity. We'll see how he handles it,"
Pettine said. "We told him yesterday, this isn't a dead
end. This is a hurdle."
the decision to remove Manziel as his starter after a video
appeared of him rapping profane lyrics while holding what
appeared to be a champagne bottle. This came just days after
he was named starter and after he had talked with Pettine,
offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and quarterbacks coach
Kevin O'Connell about the team's expectations for him in his
surprised by the video, but more disappointed than anything.
right on the heels of discussions that not just I had with him
but Kevin O'Connell and Flip and that trust was
violated," Pettine said.
the Browns did not consider cutting Manziel, a first-round
draft pick who has made more headlines with his off-field
antics than anything he's done between the lines.
And for those
speculating that Manziel has played his last game with
Cleveland, Pettine said that talk is premature.
certainly hope not," he said. "He has made great
progress. Sometimes you have to take a step back to take a few
portion of Wednesday's practice open to the media, Manziel
stood with his hands tucked in his hooded sweatshirt and
watched as McCown and Davis took all the snaps. At one point,
Manziel dejectedly hung his head and stared at the grass under
his feet as the Browns practiced on another shockingly mild
late November afternoon.
is a difficult blow to the 22-year-old, who was riding high
after being named Cleveland's starter for the remainder of the
season last week. The same day he was promoted, Manziel, who
spent 10 weeks in a rehab facility during the offseason,
learned that the NFL had ruled he did not violate its personal
conduct policy during a domestic incident last week.
has fallen back to where he was at the start of this season
— out of the lineup and out of favor with his coaches.
lose trust in buckets," Pettine said, "and you
regain it in drops."
not rule out Manziel starting again this season.
can change," he said. "I think a lot of it, too, is
how does it get handled? Last week, we made him the starter
for the rest of the season. We all saw how quickly that
Joe Thomas said Pettine's decision was supported in
Cleveland's locker room.
important that if you have rules and guidelines and people
tell you something that you have follow-through," Thomas
said. "It's important in every walk of life to be a man
of your word and do the things you say you're going to do and
be held accountable."
sympathizes with Manziel, who blew his chance to build off a
372-yard performance on Nov. 15 in Pittsburgh.
credit to Johnny," McCown said. "He came to work
this morning and obviously with not the best circumstances and
took notes and did everything he was supposed to do. Given
everything that has happened it was the right response and I
just appreciate that from him. We're in this thing
demotion will make it difficult for the Browns to assess
Manziel's future, but Pettine said that had no bearing on his
was too important," he said. "It was something that,
it's regrettable but we feel we had to do."