We’ve now found something more rare than Browns wins — public backing for Johnny Manziel in Cleveland.
And it’s no less than the franchise’s most decorated player who’s supporting Manziel and urging patience and support for the troubled first-round pick.
“To be honest, I don’t want to see him traded or anything like that,” Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown said, via Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I just never feel that’s the answer to anything. But that’s my opinion and I don’t expect you to feel that way. I like Johnny.”
It’s unclear if Browns owner Jimmy Haslam or coach Hue Jackson share that view, though Haslam said he thought the relationship could be “fixed.” Jackson hasn’t talked to Manziel since taking over two weeks ago.
Brown has worked with gang members in the past, so he’s no stranger to behavior issues, and he said he thought it was possible to reach Manziel.
“Your leadership has to be able to deal with players and I don’t think that Johnny is a bad guy,” Brown said. “But I think he needs someone to deal with him, give him an opportunity to be the nice Johnny, the intelligent Johnny. From all I hear, he should know what is right and wrong, etc. But we never know what is in the background of any of these youngsters.
“Since I deal with them and I deal with the ones that are hardcore, I know that if you deal with them properly they’ll respect you and you can get them to do what’s needed to be done.”
Of course, Manziel hasn’t shown respect back toward the Browns, and Brown admitted that made it a difficult situation.
“I like Johnny and I know a lot of kids that if you don’t know how to deal with them, you lose them,” Brown said. “They don’t come ready made, but on the other hand the argument is he’s a man. He should know how to conduct himself. He has an opportunity and we’ve got all of that, but I like him and I hope they are able to relate and if they are able to relate then he will respect the coach.”
Jackson may have his own ideas, but having the backing of a legend such as Brown won’t do anything to hurt Manziel’s chances at a second chance.