As the new coach for the Cleveland Browns took the stage to speak to the media he knew full well someone was going to ask him about troubled quarterback Johnny Manziel and what he had to say seems to have further signaled the end of Manziel’s career with the team.
After speaking for some six minutes on Wednesday, NBC Sports reported that newly hired coach Hue Jackson said he “knew” someone was going to ask about the status of the one-time first round pick. What he said was terse and full of foreboding for the young player’s position.
“We made a statement two weeks ago about Johnny Manziel and I’m going to stand by that,” Jackson said. “That behavior will not be tolerated as we move forward. Our organization is going to take a stand.”
The statement to which coach Jackson referred was released by the team on February 2. It read: “We’ve been clear about expectations for our players on and off the field. Johnny’s continual involvement in incidents that run counter to those expectations undermines the hard work of his teammates and the reputation of our organization. His status with our team will be addressed when permitted by league rules. We will have no further comment at this time.”
Earlier this month insiders reported the team has already decided to cut the former Heisman Trophy-winner out of Texas A&M because of his persistent personal foibles and constant brushes with the law. It is thought that the team will make the final announcement in March, but as for now Manziel is in an awkward limbo as he awaits the boom to fall.
The early February statement came on the heels of a police investigation into to an alleged assault in Fort Worth, Texas, involving Manziel and a woman. The NFL, as well as Dallas and Fort Worth police, still investigate the incident.
In two seasons with the Browns, Manziel appeared in 15 games. Of the eight games in which he started, the team won two games and lost six while he managed a dismal 74.4 quarterback rating. Off the field was much worse. The immature quarterback suffered a series of curfew infractions and team rules violations. In an effort to reform himself, Manziel last year entered Caron Treatment Center outside Reading, Pennsylvania, where he spent 10 weeks for undisclosed reasons.
In the end, if anyone thought a new coach might mean a reprieve for “Johnny Football,” it looks like those hopes are forlorn.
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