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Homeless man anecdote creates impression Haslam influenced Manziel pick

Manziel Getty Images

One of the most bizarre stories of the first night of the draft came from Cleveland, where ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio was embedded with the Browns.

After Cleveland moved up from 26 to 22 to get Johnny Manziel, Paolantonio explained on the air that owner Jimmy Haslam became convinced the fans in Cleveland wanted Manziel after a homeless man said to the owner, “Draft Manziel.”

It’s a funny, quirky little anecdote.  But the way it was sold by Paolantonio creates the impression that:  (1) the homeless guy actually had influence over Haslam; and (2) Haslam actually had influence over the pick.

And that’s not a good impression to create.

Then again, maybe the homeless man influenced Haslam, who in turn influenced the guys he pays to ultimately do what they think he wants them to do.  After all, the Browns reportedly spent $100,000 for an analytics study that told them Teddy Bridgewater was the best quarterback in this year’s draft.  And they didn’t take Bridgewater.

So maybe they should ask for a refund — and maybe they should give the money to the homeless guy.

Or maybe they should just hire the homeless guy.  After all, they’ve got plenty more picks to make before this draft is over.

In all (or at least some) seriousness, this is more of a knock on ESPN than the Browns.  They sold a story Haslam shared with Sal as something far more significant than it likely was to the process.

But perception is reality, and the perception that Haslam listened to a homeless man and that Haslam dictated the pick will now be the reality for many.

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40 Responses to “Homeless man anecdote creates impression Haslam influenced Manziel pick”
  1. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: May 9, 2014 8:58 AM

    Similar story:

    Back in ’98, the San Diego Chargers paid $60,000.00 for intensive (and acclaimed) psycho-analytic QB breakdown on Ryan Leaf – and – was informed CONCLUSIVELY that Leaf was not properly wired to play NFL QB. All of the red flags were pointed out in detail far in advance of San Diego’s pick.

    And like the Browns who paid a lot of money for a study, the Chargers also completely ignored the results of that study – and drafted Leaf anyway. Leaf was paid nearly $35,000,000.00 of a $48,000,000.00 contract – and the study played out as if it were a road map into the future (as it was designed to do). Every red flag detailed in the study was basically borne out to the letter.

    We’ll see how this one goes, but it makes one ask, why do they pay good money for these studies — only to completely disregard them if they don’t like the results?

  2. afty2001 says: May 9, 2014 9:00 AM

    All Browns fans need to do is look at there previous 22nd overall QB’s and soon enough they will realize they are still the Factory of Sadness!

  3. romo2witten says: May 9, 2014 9:02 AM

    Is this anything new for ESPN? They had the masses convinced that the Cowboys were going to draft Johnny Manziel.

  4. bobsacamano2 says: May 9, 2014 9:03 AM

    Move over Jets! There is officially a new circus in town.

  5. nonetruerthanblue says: May 9, 2014 9:04 AM

    I think everyone that heard that report from Sal last night was like wait, “Did he just say that a homeless guy decided the Browns’ pick??”

    Pure comedy!

  6. denverdude7 says: May 9, 2014 9:13 AM

    With the way the Browns franchise has been run lately the homeless guy has to be an improvement right?

  7. pascalswager42 says: May 9, 2014 9:19 AM

    Just ESPN taking another shot at C-town. Like everyone else. Perception is reality, and the media in all aspects tries to paint Cleveland as the worst place in the United States. Not even close, folks.

    I will not sit here and say this is a playoff team, but there is no way any smart football person can look at that first round and say the Browns didn’t own the night and have the best first round.

    Go Browns!

  8. dietrich43 says: May 9, 2014 9:23 AM

    Where is Haslam running into the homeless in Cleveland? And would he actually talk to a homeless man, or ignore him like part of the landscape?

  9. d10ballfan says: May 9, 2014 9:27 AM

    I’m sure Haslam said something along those lines but the way it was presented by Sal and ESPN was a mess. Sal P looked like a fool telling the story. And now of course Clev looks even worse for their owner telling the story (if possible).

    I just wish Haslam would shut his mouth. Wishful thinking though.

  10. qdog112 says: May 9, 2014 9:30 AM

    This was obviously not a Ray Farmer pick and had to be a Haslem decision to take Manziel.

    For an organization that needs stability at the QB position, they chose flash, that will fizzle out in a very short time, locking them into the mediocrity they’ve grown accustomed to.

  11. 3yardsndust says: May 9, 2014 9:31 AM

    Manziel will be a bust.

  12. doctorrustbelt says: May 9, 2014 9:32 AM

    Yeah… billionaires are always interacting with homeless folks.

    Gimme a freaking break!!!

  13. atlfan31833 says: May 9, 2014 9:33 AM

    Spin it this way and see if it sounds better…
    In all that is going on for the homeless gentlemen, he cares enough about the Browns that he mentions drafting Manziel as something that will bring hope to him. And then the owner tries to do it. There may be other generosities shown as well but most good intentions like that are not mentioned by the person that performed the act of kindness.

  14. doctorrustbelt says: May 9, 2014 9:34 AM

    sal is still mad about the Browns beating his jets in the 1986 divisional playoffs.

  15. ravenseers says: May 9, 2014 9:38 AM

    The Browns in almost every draft “own the night”. In the AFC north we are so happy of how that “night” roll over onto the regular season/s… Joke of a franchise, joke!

  16. In Teddy We Trust says: May 9, 2014 9:39 AM

    I think it’s obvious to anyone who heard the story that the idea was that the fans really wanted Manziel. You’d have to be pretty naïve to think that a homeless guy would convince the owner of who to pick and the owner would then convince the GM to pick him on that basis.

    By the way, the $100K study was right.

  17. ragnarthemagnificent says: May 9, 2014 9:45 AM

    and Sal was never invited to embed himself with the Browns again.

  18. Punk says: May 9, 2014 9:46 AM

    What this does prove is that Haslam will do the popular thing to sell tickets and not the “football smart” thing to win games.

  19. shannysux says: May 9, 2014 9:48 AM

    And if Manziel leads the Browns to the Super Bowl this year, next year every team will have a homeless consultant

  20. barkymingo says: May 9, 2014 9:51 AM

    First of all, why would the Browns pay $100k for a study only to leak the results to everyone so that another team, who didn’t pay for the study, could find out the results. I absolutely do not think that the study actually had Bridgewater as the top candidate. I also don’t think Haslam had a whole lot to do with this pick. I think he’s a smart owner and let Farmer do his thing. As a life long Browns fan, why not make this trade/pick? Your fans are extremely excited and do you really want to be the team that passed on Johnny Franchise twice if he turns into the next Aaron Rogers?? I know I don’t!!!

    GO BROWNS!!!

  21. drsummeroff says: May 9, 2014 9:52 AM

    Meh. Haslem pays the bills there. It’s his team. If he wants to meddle, then he meddles. Either way, Manziel made sense for them at that spot.

  22. rc33 says: May 9, 2014 10:05 AM

    Let’s see; the “Golden Voice” Ted Williams was a homeless guy from Cleveland.
    So who made this suggestion, Stan Musial?

  23. 1sttimepftcomment says: May 9, 2014 10:08 AM

    The whole world has to get off the browns already. Get a life! They’ll start winning soon all all you losers will have to pick a diff team to pick on. Loved what Farmer did, hoping for 2 more starters tonight!

  24. wiseone50 says: May 9, 2014 10:12 AM

    Listen clueless people. JM is NOT ready to be a starter in the NFL. He’s has a lot to learn, such as staying in the pocket as much as possible. He will be groomed behind Brian Hoyer, who has much better skills than JM does right now and can teach him while he holds his clipboard. Pettine has already stated this.

  25. FoozieGrooler says: May 9, 2014 10:16 AM

    Oh yeah, billionaires love homeless guys.
    That’s why they’re creating so many of them…

  26. bcboncs says: May 9, 2014 10:20 AM

    Can’t believe everyone legitimately believes the pick was influenced by a homeless man. Haslam just wanted to tell a heart-felt story. I didn’t think about it until this article but the scary part is that Haslam ultimately had the say in the pick. I didn’t initially think about that until Florio’s article…

    Scary… Jerry Jones Jr.

  27. thegenoatkinsdiet says: May 9, 2014 10:28 AM

    That story creates the impression with me that Haslam is more concerned with satisfying the fans (and bringing in the $$$) than the is with listening to his coaching staff and building a solid team.

    Bigger to me, though, was how less-than-excited Johnny looked to take that call from Cleveland (the cemetery of QB careers).

  28. greeksensation says: May 9, 2014 10:28 AM

    Can’t imagine the Browns paid all that money for the study just to release the results before the draft. If a study was done, then Bortles or Manziel were at the top of it.

  29. whatjusthapped says: May 9, 2014 10:29 AM

    That wasn’t a homeless man, it was Rick Spieladlope and he was hoping it would scare the Browns into not drafting Manziel.

    As it turns out, the Vikings got their own Bust of a Qb later on.

  30. bennyb82 says: May 9, 2014 10:43 AM

    The homeless man was actually a GM from a team in the AFC North in disguise.

  31. tndiver says: May 9, 2014 10:43 AM

    Whether the study’s findings were real or not, it also did not say who the #2 or #3 QB was and how close they were. I may have said TB was the #1 QB, but it also may have said he was just a hair better than #2 or #3. It could have said it really was a toss up, which is what a number of analysts have said based on each one’s strengths and weaknesses. Personally, I think it was a waste of money, but then again, I didn’t read the report.

  32. kosarkid says: May 9, 2014 10:51 AM

    I really hope someone pays the homeless guy if this pans out. I’m willing to bet the homeless guy was a former Browns GM.

  33. GO FOR TWO SPORTS says: May 9, 2014 11:00 AM

    This website and ESPN like to pretend that The Raiders DID NOT actually get the best pick in the draft. Nobody thought Mack would fall right into The Raiders lap. Just 3 days ago everyone was saying Mack was the best player in the draft but now that THE RAIDERS got him it goes ignored..
    As for Manziel he will be a bust, The best QB in the draft is Derek Carr. Then Metzenberger

  34. Norseman says: May 9, 2014 11:13 AM

    Vikings did their analytical studies too, which doubtless included the Ponder experience, and also came up with Bridgewater as the best QB in the draft.

    And guess what? They drafted him.

    It takes a certain kind of stupid to ignore 3 years of exceptional game performances in which Bridgewater demonstrated consistently his ability to:

    1. Throw accurately (68% completion rate)
    2. Read defenses, make adjustments- Bridgewater had total authority to audible and change play, blocking, etc. at the line- and did very well.
    3. Maintain poise and awareness in the pocket, extend plays as needed- his 53.5% completion rate under duress was the highest among the top QBs in the draft
    4. Make good decisions – only 4 INTs his last season, and always had a low INT rate.
    5. Come through in critical situations- very high 3rd down conversion rate, and in key game situations.
    6. take a hit and bounce back. Remain tough and durable throughout his entire career.

    But then again, missing on a few throws in t-shirt and shorts against no defense- that’s clearly more important than all of the above.

    Not.

  35. FinFan68 says: May 9, 2014 11:32 AM

    Perception is reality only for those who don’t think for themselves

  36. fifthmaze says: May 9, 2014 2:31 PM

    The analytics study didn’t account for ticket sales and merchandise sold I guess.

  37. granadafan says: May 9, 2014 2:39 PM

    So, what were the real results of that $100K study?

  38. wishingtonredslur says: May 9, 2014 5:23 PM

    Or they made all of it up and are currently laughing at twitter, not on twitter, at twitter.

  39. phillyphannnn83 says: May 10, 2014 9:07 PM

    I’m baffled how no one has corrected the first poster that San Diego did NOT draft Ryan Leaf, they drafted Eli Manning. It was already firmly established that Eli would refuse to play for SD but they took him anyway. Two picks later, the Giants took Ryan Leaf. Later they traded them for each other and the rest is history. If you’re too young to remember this(or simply just a casual fan) then you shouldn’t be posting rubbish like that.

  40. flyeaglesfly13 says: May 12, 2014 8:28 PM

    Nobody corrected him cause he was right. Obviously your the casual fan. They chose Ryan Leaf over Peyton Manning. Then years later they drafted Eli Manning and traded him to the Giants.

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