The Browns are trying to create the impression that they possibly will keep quarterback Johnny Manziel, and Johnny Manziel is making it hard for them to sell it.
In the wake of the emergence of more Manziel party videos, Browns executive V.P. of football operations Sashi Brown made his expectations for the quarterback clear while keeping the team’s plans for him obscure.
“The thing for him obviously is to demonstrate to teammates, to our fans, and to folks in the building that this is going to be the most important thing in his life,” Brown said at the Senior Bowl, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Although Manziel’s behavior suggests that he doesn’t view football as being the most important thing in his life, Brown won’t slam the door on Manziel staying with the team.
“I think absolutely he’s a got a chance to be here,” said Brown. “He’s got a chance to be here. . . . Johnny’s got a new coaching staff that I’m sure will be watching closely in Hue Jackson and Pep Hamilton and he’s got that opportunity. He’s certainly got the capacity and it’s just on him to do it.”
Brown specifically declined to address rumors and speculation that Manziel will be traded.
“We haven’t made any decisions on it one way or the other,” Brown said. “Like I said, we’re not going to panic and we’ll sit down and have an opportunity to talk to him. Right now, our focus is getting our coaching staff and our personnel staff together, certainly coming down here and being able to watch and meet some of these young guys, who a number of them are probably going to be on our roster.”
It would be a surprise if Manziel ultimately is on the roster, in large part because it seems like he doesn’t want to be. And if/when it becomes clear that the Browns feel the same way, it will be difficult if not impossible to swing a trade for him.