The Cleveland Browns are trying really, really hard to make it known that they Johnny Manziel is just an ordinary rookie.
On top of limiting media access so Manziel doesn’t get too high a profile, the Browns are also waging a media campaign to make it known that Manziel won’t have the starting job handed to him. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said Manziel is a backup, and Browns General Manager Ray Farmer said in an appearance on ESPN that he wants everyone to realize that Manziel has a lot of work to do.
“The guy has yet to throw a pass, he’s yet to throw a touchdown, he’s yet to do anything that’s dynamic, other than being drafted — which is a tremendous accomplishment in itself,” Farmer said.
Farmer said that Haslam’s statement that Manziel is a backup was all about showing that nothing is going to be handed to Johnny Football.
“It’s more about trying to treat him just like we treat all the other rookies,” Farmer said. “Give everybody an opportunity to earn their spot, demonstrate they’re worthy of playing, and and coach Pettine being the one to handle who’s actually going to get those reps. But nevertheless, we feel good about treating him the same as all the other rookies and give him an opportunity to demonstrate what his worth is on the field.”
Manziel’s worth off the field has already been demonstrated, as he has the best-selling jersey in the NFL right now and has been the impetus for a huge uptick in Browns ticket sales. No matter what the team says about Manziel being a backup, those fans buying tickets expect to see him on the field.