Johnny Manziel: Steelers Are Not Afraid Of Rookie Quarterback
Even though Johnny Manziel has been in the news a lot for his off-the-field partying antics, fans of both the Cleveland Browns and their rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, are eager to see if he’ll start in the season-opening game at Heinz Field.
According to a report from ESPN.com, the Browns and the Steelers will begin their seasons facing each other on September 7. Browns fans are curious how Manziel will do as quarterback, while Steelers fans are anxious to see if Johnny Football can handle the defense coached by Dick LeBeau.
At a press conference, via a separate report from ESPN.com, Johnny Manziel said his goal is to be the starting quarterback for the Browns.
“To say that I don’t want to be the starter would be ridiculous,” Manziel said.
But Johnny also admitted that coach Mike Pettine made the right decision to place the former Texas A&M quarterback behind Brian Hoyer.
“Brian, obviously, is ahead,” Manziel added. “He’s been doing this a lot longer than I have. I’m a rookie, and I have a lot of ground to catch up.”
As for how the Steelers defensive starters felt about facing Manziel or Hoyer, none of them seemed to really care. Ike Taylor said the team is more focused on “trying to win ballgames.”
“It doesn’t matter who is at quarterback,” Taylor added.
Mike Mitchell, the Steelers free safety, said he is more interested in going against “someone who is going to throw me a pick.” But he doesn’t care if that someone is Johnny Manziel.
“I want the quarterback that’s the most confident, the most prepared, so when I take it from him, no excuses,” Mitchell added. “That’s what I want every week.”
Defensive end Cameron Heyward said he doesn’t care if it’s Johnny or Hoyer who starts — he’s “going to have fun either way.” But the former Ohio State player did come to the defense of Johnny Manziel and said he understands the challenge the rookie quarterback faces.
“It’s tough,” Heyward said. “Everybody’s looking for him to mess up.”
Heyward added that he believes Johnny Manziel is “a great player.”
“I wish him the best,” he said.
But if Johnny Football wants to be the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, he needs to cut back on his party life. At least that’s what veterans Emmitt Smith and Joe Montana are telling Manziel to do, according to a report from The Inquisitr.
In an interview, Smith admitted that he was “once young and dumb.” But he also believes that Johnny Manziel needs to do what is “required of every pro football player,” and that is to mature in both his off-the-field life and his football career.
“I think, right now, Johnny Manziel is going to get a glimpse of what negative press can do for you,” Smith added. “A lot of people think negative press is good press, or any press is good press. It’s not.”
Smith is hoping that, even though Manziel is “harming his body and performance” by drinking alcohol, the rookie quarterback isn’t doing anything else that could destroy his career.
“At the end of the day, he’s going to have to learn to manage those things,” he added.
Montana basically said the same thing when asked about Johnny Manziel. But he also brought up something his former coach, Bill Walsh, told him after the 49ers won their first Super Bowl.
“I was going everywhere and trying to do everything,” Montana said. “He called me in and said, ‘I want to tell you one thing, I understand what you’re doing, we may never get back to another Super Bowl. Just remember this, the less people see you, the more they want to see you.'”
Montana clarified that Walsh told him he could “do some things,” but not to do so many things that would make him forget about his football career. And that’s what he hopes Johnny Manziel will understand.
“Because that’s what got you there and that is what’s going to keep you there,” Montana added. “So you have to make sure you spend the time on football as much as getting out and about.”
[Images via Next Impulse Sports and The Sports Fan Journal]