The Cleveland Browns are rumored to be coming around on Johnny Manziel, but the team is apparently still concerned enough about the troubled quarterback to opt out of airing his comeback process to the world.
The team has reportedly passed on appearing on the HBO reality series Hard Knocks, which follows teams in training camp and offers inside details on player development and roster decisions.
The Browns were reportedly afraid of what might happen with Johnny Manziel, the former first-round pick who spent most of the offseason in rehab. Manziel came into the NFL as an already polarizing player, with many questioning whether the explosive skills that led to a Heisman Trophy would translate to the NFL.
It turned out that Manziel barely got a chance to show it. Rumors around the team indicated that he was unprepared, spending more time partying than studying his playbook, and looked shaky in the few times he saw the field.
The team has reportedly come around on Manziel, praising the efforts he’s taken to improve this offseason, but the team still wanted to keep that development in-house.
Tony Grossi of ESPN-Cleveland reported that the Browns asked not to be featured on Hard Knocks, and the league went along so it doesn’t enlist “an unwilling participant.”
“You just weigh everything in,” coach Mike Pettine said in March about the team appearing on the show. “Because being a part of Hard Knocks, having been there, knowing they’re going to look to cover the team’s biggest current storylines, it’s obvious that he would be a point of attention.”
While it once seemed as if the Browns would trade Johnny Manziel, his rehab stint appears to have won over many in the organization. Reports indicate that Manziel has been working hard on transforming every part of his life beyond his commitment to football.
“Manziel recently moved from a downtown Cleveland condo to a golf community in a suburb on Cleveland’s far west side. Kruger said he’s not neighbors with Manziel, but does live close by. [Neighbor Paul Kruger] described the mood in the neighborhood as similar to the mood at Barrington Golf Club as he awaited the tournament’s start.”
Manziel has now been getting praise from the team’s brass.
“I feel good that he is a young man that’s doing the best he can with the circumstances he has,” general manager Ray Farmer said. “He wants to give himself the best opportunity. Whatever he thinks those adjustments need to be, those are things that he’s going to do.”
With the Cleveland Browns passing on Hard Knocks, the show is rumored to be down to Houston and Buffalo as finalists.
[Image via Getty Images/Tom Szczerbowski]