Time to haul out the lie detector. Someone is prevaricating.
On the one hand, we have Browns General Manager Ray Farmer insisting that owner Jimmy Haslam III in no way influenced his decision to move up in last week’s college draft and select Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
“I can tell you with 100% certainty that Jimmy Haslam at no point demanded, requested or tried to influence the process in any way,” Farmer said in answer to the question the day following Manziel’s selection.
“He definitely asked questions. He’ll definitely give his opinion of what he thinks and all of those things are fine, but at the end of the day, he trusted the football staff to make the decisions that we thought were the right decisions for this football team.”
Now comes word that Haslam did, indeed, influence the selection of Manziel. It comes from Browns quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains, who admitted as much on an Arkansas radio program Thursday.
Loggains said he and Manziel, who was backstage at Radio City Music Hall in New York, were texting as the draft was unfolding. The more teams that passed on the quarterback, the more anxious he became.
“We’re sitting there and they keep showing Johnny on TV and Johnny and I are texting and he shoots me a text and he says, ‘I wish you guys would come get me. Hurry up and draft me because I want to be there. I want to wreck this league together.’ “
Loggains said he immediately forwarded the text to Haslam, an unabashed fan of Manziel, and coach Mike Pettine. “As soon as that happened, Mr. Haslam said, ‘Pull the trigger. We’re trading up to get this guy.' "
Next thing we know, the Browns and Philadelphia Eagles work out a deal and all of a sudden, the Browns are moving up from No. 26 to No. 22, one pick ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs, who were poised to grab Manziel.
Now Manziel is no dummy. He knew that if the Chiefs had drafted him, he would sit for at least one season behind Alex Smith. He had a much better shot at starting right away with the Browns.
So someone here is lying. Now I know that lying is de rigueur around college draft time. But there comes a time when it should stop.
It’s much easier to believe Loggains’ story than Farmer’s with regard to what really went on in the draft room late Thursday evening.
Farmer was in the same room with Haslam. He had to have heard “pull the trigger” and “we’re trading up to get this guy.” And yet, he insisted the next day that he and his staff were responsible for the trade and subsequent selection of Manziel.
Someone is not dancing with the truth. The fans have a right to know what the truth is. It’ll be interesting how the Browns handle (spin?) what appears to be a right hand/left hand problem.
Will Loggains be disciplined for outing his own club? Will his job be in danger? Stay tuned for the next episode of “As the Browns Turn.”