The Browns traded up from the 26th pick to the 22nd pick to draft Johnny Manziel last week, a move that generated enough excitement in Cleveland that they sold more than 1,000 season tickets in the day after Manziel joined the team.
For a franchise that has had little to be excited about since rejoining the league in 1999, that kind of enthusiasm would seem to be welcomed. The same could be said of the money that comes from selling No. 2 jerseys like the one LeBron James sported after Manziel was drafted, but the Browns want to limit how much of Manziel the world gets to see.
Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post reports that the Browns told him not to bother coming to cover the team’s rookie minicamp because they were limiting media access to local writers. NFL rules allow teams to make their own decisions about media access to rookie minicamps, but they must allow media to attend the mandatory veteran minicamp later in the offseason.
“We don’t want this to be a Tebow situation. It’s not going to be Johnny Football Mania out there,” a Browns spokesman told Hubbuch.
You can understand the idea of limiting the focus on Manziel while the team is insisting that he act like a backup quarterback and owner Jimmy Haslam is delivering what has to be the first reminder in history that Cleveland is not Hollywood, but the Browns are going to have to embrace the mania at some point if Manziel becomes the player they want him to be. If they’re not willing to do that, they probably shouldn’t have drafted Johnny Football in the first place.