The Cleveland Browns have a message for Johnny Manziel: You’re a “100 percent joke,” says sources within the team. Manziel, aka Johnny Football, had a rocky start to his rookie quarterbacking, and combined with his off-field antics, well, it appears the 22-year-old hard-partyer isn’t well respected within his own locker room.
An ESPN report on Jan. 24 said the “celebrity quarterback was a turbulent presence” on the team last year. Writes ESPN: “Nearly 20 Browns sources, both on the record and on condition of anonymity, along with several NFL personnel sources, reveal the Manziel-related problems run deep.”
The misdeeds of Mr. football greatly countervail any positives. His on-field performance was subpar, but then few rookie QB’s walk onto the big boy’s turf for the first time and boast robust stats. Yet Manziel’s shaky numbers were dwarfed by absurd behavior.
In 2013, prior to being drafted, the Texas A&M QB was suspended for half a game under suspicions that he signed autographs for money. Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer harshly criticized Manziel prior to the 2014 draft, saying: “I don’t like his antics. I think he’s an arrogant little prick. I’ve said that and I’ll say it again.”
When he was drafted 22nd overall last year, Manziel famously raised his hands and rubbed his fingers together in the “money” sign as he walked onstage to greet NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Way to send the right message. In a preseason game against the Washington Redskins, Manziel flipped the bird and was fined $12K by the league.
This is just some of the stuff we already know. ESPN says the “talented but misguided” Manziel “must repair the wreckage done in his own locker room…Those who spoke talked of a yearlong pattern that showed a lack of commitment and preparation, a failure to be ready when given a chance in his first start against Cincinnati and a continued commitment to nightlife, which affected his preparation and work while in the team facility.”
At least one current player on the roster, who declined to be identified, said the former Heisman Trophy winner is a “100 percent joke.” Eye rolling fans are growing tired of the playboy’s attitude – prior to the Browns last game, it was widely reported that Manziel was AWOL during the team meeting that morning. Security found him drunk off his rookie butt.
Adds NBC Sports: “Monday after the season, Manziel had another news conference, saying many of the same things from six days earlier – actions must support words. That night he was featured in Instagram photos on Miami Beach, a few days later at a club in Houston and a few days after that on a mountain in Aspen, Colorado.”
“I brought this on myself,” Manziel said the season finale against Baltimore. “I brought these cameras and all these people that are in this locker room right now and I don’t think it’s fair to myself, I don’t think it’s fair to anybody in this locker room the distractions I’ve brought at points in time.”
“During the draft process, not one person interviewed by the team said he was going to grow up,” another source told ESPN. “You can’t blame Johnny. This is who he is. The team knew that.” Players said that the team veterans do not respect him and that he was entirely unprepared; Manziel reportedly didn’t even have the playbook down when he got his first start in week 15, confusing simple left and right play directions. The Browns lost the game 30 to 0.
John DeFilippo, the newest Browns offensive coordinator, did not exactly endorse Manziel. “We’re not sure if our starting quarterback is in the building or not,” DeFilippo said this week. “If he is, great. If he isn’t, great too.” Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam summed it up: “We’ve got to get a quarterback and got to get it fixed.”
In fact, as one of my readers emailed in to me, many feel that Manziel is an alcoholic, and he’s been labeled as such by the media. Skip Bayless, host of the ESPN2 show First Take, said Manziel “has a problem with alcohol” and needs to “get some help,” essentially calling the Browns quarterback an alcoholic. As the reader pointed out, the problems in the NFL aren’t due to under-inflated footballs, but over-inflated egos.
See also: Bill Nye: Patriots ball busting backcap of Deflategate won’t fly with Nye guy
Agree with Cleveland sources? Is Manziel a 100 percent joke?