Johnny Manziel, in the heat of the moment, flipped the bird at the Washington Redskins bench last night. Ah, the exuberance of youth.
CBC Sports reports as Manziel was returning to the huddle late in the third quarter of the Cleveland Browns second preseason game, he turned to the Redskins bench and gave them the middle finger. Considering the night he had (7 for 16, 65 yards, one touchdown), this time he hit his target.
Manziel’s gesture was one of many bad memories for the Browns in their 24-23 loss to the Redskins. Manziel called the moment a “lapse of judgment.” Teammate Joe Haden said opposition fans and players were giving “Johnny Football” plenty of unprintable verbal grief for the second straight week. Manziel was openly mocked by Brian Orakpo when the Redskins linebacker raised both hands and performed the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner’s “money” gesture after a sack by Ryan Kerrigan in the first quarter.
“I get words exchanged throughout the entirety of the game, every game, week after week, and I should’ve been smarter,” Manziel said. “It was aMonday Night Football game and cameras were probably solid on me and I just need to be smarter about that…. It’s there and it’s present every game and I just need to let it slide off my back and go to the next play.”
CBS Detroit reports Browns head coach Mike Pettine was not happy about the gesture. “It does not sit well,” Pettine said. “It’s disappointing, because what we talk about is being poised and being focused. … That’s a big part of all football players, especially the quarterback.”
Meanwhile, Pettine is still trying to decide who his starting quarterback should be. Pettine earlier this preseason said he would decide on a starter by August 19, He has since backed away from that. “All the options are still on the table,” Pettine said.
Brian Hoyer, competing for the starting quarterback job with Manziel, fared no better, going 2 for 6 for 16 yards. Hoyer said of his performance, “It probably couldn’t have been any worse. It’s disappointing. It was embarrassing.”
Those stats, as mediocre as they are for both quarterbacks, were padded by series against the Redskins’ backups. In the first quarter — when Washington’s starters were in the game — Manziel was 2 for 7 for 29 yards, and Hoyer was 0 for 2.
“They both missed some throws,” Pettine said.
If it’s any indicator, Pettine had Hoyer start the second consecutive game, while Manziel came in with the reserves.