Johnny Manziel let his frustration get the best of him on Monday night against the Washington Redskins when he responded to his opponents’ heckling by raising his right hand and giving the middle finger.
Manziel was jogging to the sidelines in the third quarter after an incomplete pass when several Redskins players began to trash talk him. In full view of national television cameras, Manziel decided to respond with a single-finger salute, a gesture that didn’t go over too well with his coach.
“It does not sit well,” Cleveland coach Mike Pettine said. “It’s disappointing because what we talk about is being poised and being focused.”
Afterward, Johnny Manziel apologized and teammates noted that he was the subject of some pretty constant heckling during the game.
“The whole time we were there, everyone was talking, just the worst things you could ever imagine to Johnny,” cornerback Joe Haden said. “It’s so bad.”
But Manziel also said it wasn’t too big of a deal.
“It doesn’t distract me at all,” Manziel said of the heckling from Redskins players. “It’s not a big thing to me. Like I said, I need to hold my composure better. It’s just a gesture.”
But Johnny Manziel could have bigger problems than his middle finger. The rookie from Texas A&M, who is fighting with veteran Brian Hoyer for the Browns starting spot, did nothing to set himself apart in the 24-23 loss. He had several incompletions and ran just one time for negative 1 yards.
“I don’t think I did a very good job [Monday night],” Manziel admitted after the game.
After showing some flashes of brilliance in his first preseason game, Manziel could now be on track to start the 2014 season on the bench.
Early this week will likely be a telling time for Johnny Manziel. Coach Mike Pettine said he plans to name his starter on Tuesday, which is around the same time Manziel could learn if he faces a fine from the NFL for his middle finger.