In a report on the league’s own network, the Browns have been accused of lying about Johnny Manziel having a concussion in an effort to cover up that the real problem with Manziel was showing up to work drunk.
“Johnny Manziel, going into what would have been a start late in the season, showed up drunk at practice on a Wednesday. The Browns lied and said he was in the concussion protocol. Let me repeat that: The Browns lied, to try to protect, and I would argue enable, this irresponsible and very troubled young man,” Mike Silver said on the air on NFL Network.
As PFT pointed out at the time, there’s always been something very fishy about Manziel’s Week 17 concussion diagnosis. On Monday of the last week of the season, then-Browns coach Mike Pettine said he planned to talk to Manziel about a video that appeared to show him drinking alcohol and partying. At that time, there were no reports that Manziel being checked for a concussion. Then, when Manziel showed up to work on Wednesday, it was announced that he had a concussion and couldn’t play in that Sunday’s season finale. It was never explained why the Browns only diagnosed this concussion three days after it supposedly happened, and two days after Pettine said he was going to have a stern talk with Manziel about his off-field issues.
If NFL Network’s report is correct, the NFL should come down hard on the Browns. The league has spent the last few years repeating, over and over again, that concussions are to be taken seriously. If the Browns are using bogus concussion diagnoses to avoid having to discuss players’ off-field problems, that would be an appalling misuse of the league’s injury reports.
So while the Browns are done with Manziel, they may not be done paying the price for hitching their wagon to him. Cleveland could be facing league discipline for lying about a concussion.