Sports Football

NFL

Browns coach Mike Pettine visits Johnny Manziel in rehab

John Kryk

By John Kryk, Toronto Sun

Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel in action against the Bills in Buffalo on Nov. 30, 2014. (John Kryk/QMI Agency/Files)

Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel in action against the Bills in Buffalo on Nov. 30, 2014. (John Kryk/QMI Agency/Files)

INDIANAPOLIS - 

Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine visited troubled quarterback Johnny Manziel last week at his rehab facility.

“I’ll keep the details of that private, just to respect his privacy and the situation that he’s in,” Pettine told reporters Wednesday during his news conference at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“I just wanted to go visit him and see how he’s doing, and let him know that we’re proud of him for the decision he made to go in, and obviously he has our full support.”

“Johnny Football” had a disastrous rookie season after the Browns selected the former college superstar 22nd overall. He came to Cleveland with a reputation for being as wild off the field as he’d been dynamic on it as a collegian for two years at Texas A&M.

But Manziel rode the bench behind Brian Hoyer until the last month of the season. His first start was a complete disaster: he went 10-of-18 for just 80 yards and two interceptions in a 30-0 loss to Cincinnati.

Manziel was hardly playing any better in his second start at Carolina a week later. He went 3-of-8 for 32 yards before suffering a hamstring injury late in the first half.

The following Saturday he missed a scheduled rehab assignment before the team flew to Baltimore, and reports later said he played host to a big party the night before. Team officials had to enter his home to wake him up on the Saturday morning, when they couldn’t reach him.

Manziel entered a rehab treatment centre at the beginning of this month.

Here’s an edited transcript of Pettine’s exchange with reporters Wednesday about his visit with Manziel, and Manziel’s place on the team what with Hoyer set to become a free agent:

Did the team encourage Manziel to enter rehab?

“Did not. It was his choice.”

Did you know he had an issue?

“I did not. I mean I knew that our players from time to time, some more than others, would be out and about. But I didn’t know there was a problem -- certainly not one that was that serious.”

Did he talk to you before he went in?

“He did not.”

Do you have any expectation for when he might rejoin the team?

“I think it was open-ended. Again, I don’t want to get into too many details of it. I don’t have a firm idea of when he will be back.”

How is he doing?

“... He’s at a much better place now than he was before he went in, and he’s very determined to come out of it in a much better way.”

Does it add even more question marks to an already uncertain quarterback situation?

“Well I’d be a lot more concerned if we had a game this Sunday. But ... that’s a position that we’re going to look to address. All options are on the table. We talked about that at the end of the year.”

In retrospect, what might have you done differently with Manziel in Year 1?

“Again, I’m not into hindsight and woulda-coulda-shoulda with that, what regrets we have. We coached him to the best of our abilities as a coaching staff, and there were some issues at the end of the year that he felt he needed to address, and he went ahead and stepped forward and said, ‘I need help,’ and went ahead and initiated it.”

When he does come back, how will your handling of him change? How have you learned?

“I hope we treat him as we treated him before. He’ll be one of our 90 players in the spring, and we’ll go from there.”

Did you miss anything last year in the pre-draft process with regard to Manziel, and is there anything you can learn from that process going forward?

“I think we had the information that everyone in the league had. It’s easy to look back now and say, ‘What did you miss?’ Or you can interpret something a little bit differently now and it turns out to be a deeper-rooted thing than you thought. Obviously we felt very comfortable with his background, and certainly enough to draft him.”

Do you go into free agency feeling like you have to find a starting quarterback other than Johnny Manziel?

“That’s probably accurate, just because you just look at the uncertainty of where he is, and just given the small sample size we still don’t know based on what he was going through whether he is that answer. I think there’s just too much unknown. Like I said, I’d obviously be scared if we had a game this weekend. But it’s a position we’re well aware of, where our depth chart is, and we’ll certainly look to address here in the coming months.”


Pettine ‘wasn’t thrilled’ Browns GM texted coaches during games

Mike Pettine didn’t try to downplay his disappointment upon discovering that his Cleveland Browns GM, Ray Farmer, texted coaches during games last season.

That’s strictly prohibited, and the NFL is expected to suspend Farmer -- and perhaps even take away a draft pick from the Browns.

“I’ll be honest. I wasn’t thrilled about it,” Pettine told reporters Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine. “Ray and I have had very clear and open conversations about it.

“He apologized not just to myself but to other members of the organization ... I’m not going to go into my initial reaction, but at the same time I am very comfortable with my relationship with Ray. That hasn’t changed. He and I still see things very much the same.”

“It’s a mistake. He admits it. And a lot of it’s deeply rooted in his competitiveness ... We’re waiting for the league to hand down a punishment for it, and whatever it is we’ll abide by it.”


Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions


Featured Businesses

Go to the Marketplace »