Wrong move again
There was only one move the Browns should have made Tuesday in the wake of the latest Johnny Manziel flare-up and they didn’t make it.
They should have cut the misbehaving quarterback loose. Opened the door and swift-kicked him out on his hind flanks because enough is enough. And yet, they couldn’t do it.
If coach Mike Pettine and General Manager Ray Farmer had any guts, they would have marched into owner Jimmy Haslam III’s office and said, “We don’t want him on this team any more.”
They should have made him an immediate National Football League free agent. Let him go elsewhere and cause headaches for some other team.
The Browns then compounded the situation by relegating Manziel, who was slated to start the final six games of the season, to the third team. What in the world were they thinking?
Naughty boy, naughty boy. Hold out your wrist so we can slap it. Now go sit in the corner, learn all over again how to behave yourself and then maybe, just maybe, we’ll let you out.
When will those who run this franchise ever learn? Learn that despite all his apologies and promises to become a better teammate and representative of the team, Manziel is a lost cause. In some ways, he is self-destructive.
He has yet to grow up. He is still a kid playing in a man’s professional football league and has no clue as to how to handle it. He is not ready to carry the responsibility of being an NFL quarterback.
His latest off-the-field dalliance was a video that showed him holding a bottle of champagne while having a good time over the weekend at an Austin, Texas, party. Ordinarily, he might be considered a 22-year-old kid just looking for some fun during the Browns’ bye week.
But Manziel is not your ordinary 22-year-old kid. In fact, he is not your ordinary NFL quarterback. He is Johnny Freaking Football. He always will be. He’s the bad boy of NFL quarterbacks. He cannot escape his fun-loving, YouTube-, TMZ-attracting past and present and whatever his future holds.
It follows him wherever he goes, it seems. His biggest enemies are not the front lines of NFL teams. It’s modern technology. More specifically the telephone. Either he doesn’t seem to realize it can take damaging pictures and videos or he really doesn’t care.
He has turned into a sad caricature of himself. He just doesn't get it and probably never will.
In the roughly 20 months he has been a Cleveland Brown, Manziel has been nothing but an embarrassment. Despite his recent assertion after being named the starter for the rest of the season that he will not bring any more embarrassment to the team, it took him less than a week to do just that with his latest antics.
The so-called brains that run this team must be gluttons for punishment. They must think they are embarrassing Manziel by relegating him to the third team. No they are not. They are exposing themselves as fools.
It is obvious Pettine, who made the decision to demote Manziel and start Josh McCown against the Baltimore Ravens Monday night, is fed up with Manziel’s apparent refusal to grow up and become a leader.
The coach gave the impression the decision was his alone, declaring in a statement released by the club that he has “spoken to Ray (Farmer) and Jimmy (Haslam) to inform them of my decision and they are in full support.”
He went on to say that “everyone in this organization wants what is best for Johnny just like we do for every player in our locker room,” adding that he was “especially disappointed in (Manziel’s) action because he has been working very hard.”
Pettine, who warned Manziel to behave himself during the bye week, doesn’t seem to understand that what is best for Johnny is to give him his release now and allow him to get as far away from Cleveland and this franchise as possible.
By keeping Manziel on the roster, Pettine, whether he realizes it or not, gives himself an opportunity to change his mind down the road. Then again, maybe the brass thinks by keeping him on the roster someone might seek to pry him loose from the Browns via the trade route.
Now who would be dumb enough to do that?
The Browns have bent over backwards to help Manziel straighten out his problems. In some ways, they enabled his wild behavior. But it was thought by some that his self-imposed 10-week stay at an alcohol rehab facility last spring would be the dawn of a new era in his life.
That obviously has not been the case and short of hiring a professional babysitter to make absolutely certain something like this does not happen again, it probably will happen again. And again. And again.
Unfortunately, when it came to making a decision on Manziel, his employer didn’t go far enough. They should have put another title in front of his name: Ex-Browns quarterback.