The Cleveland Browns had been rumored to be giving up on Johnny Manziel, but new reports claim the team wants to see if rehab has helped him become a new quarterback — and a new man.
After a disappointing rookie year in which he struggled on the field and was accused of not being ready to play, Johnny Manziel started the offseason by checking himself into rehab. While the team publicly supported Manziel, rumors indicated that the Cleveland Browns were ready to move on.
But that may not be the case.
Mary Cay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer said that she doesn’t think the Cleveland Browns are abandoning their plans for Johnny Manziel, especially not after less than two full games worth of play. Cabot said the team will want to see how he may have changed after rehab, which is expected to end this week.
Cabot thinks the team could still be set up for success with Manziel.
“There is some thought that the offense changed too drastically when Manziel played, and that it threw off the entire unit. What’s more, the Browns now have one of Manziel’s mentors in Kevin O’Connell as their quarterbacks coach. Manziel thrived and improved in the few months he spent with O’Connell before the draft last year, and the Browns are confident he can bring out the best in Manziel.”
The rumors that the Cleveland Browns were ready to dump Johnny Manziel came from ESPN insider Chris Mortensen, who said in a radio appearance this week that the team was “90 percent” given up on Manziel.
“I think about 90 percent that they have moved on [from Manziel] in their own minds except that they really don’t know who they’re going to get when Johnny leaves rehab, which has been an extended stay — a two-month stay,” Mortensen said. “He should be getting out sometime in the first week of April if they’re satisfied that he’s ready to go out and get into society and that whatever deep-rooted problems that he had has been addressed. OK, now he’s part of your depth chart. You have Josh McCown.”
Mortensen added that the Browns were looking for a new quarterback, pursuing both Sam Bradford and Marcus Mariota, and that Manziel didn’t appear to be in the long-term plans.
“The bottom line is that Johnny Manziel’s future with the Browns has been in question,” he said. “When they were putting together half of a new offensive staff, Manziel’s name barely even came up in conversation. These Cleveland Browns rumors are still just that — rumors. Publicly the team has supported Manziel and his decision to go to rehab.”
If the rumors are true and the Cleveland Browns are done with Johnny Manziel, it could be evident very soon. Reports indicated that the team was looking to move up in the NFL draft to land Marcus Mariota, and if that happens it would likely spell the end of the Johnny Manziel era.