Browns left tackle Joe Thomas, a cornerstone of the franchise who previously didn’t mince words regarding the impact of quarterback Johnny Manziel’s rookie year on the extent to which teammates trust him, elaborated on his beliefs on Tuesday night.
“I think the only thing that was apparent probably was that there were other things in his life that were maybe getting in the way of committing himself the way an NFL quarterback needs to,” Thomas said of Manziel after the unveiling of the team’s new uniforms, via Pat McManamon of ESPN.com.
Manziel, who recently exited rehab for alcohol, wasn’t among the nine Browns who modeled the various combinations of the team’s new uniforms. He instead attended a baseball game in Texas, between the Rangers and Angels.
“I think there was some doubt based on what he did last year if football was the most important thing,” safety Donte Whitner said, via McManamon. “I believe that he’ll come in, he’ll earn our trust back, he’s that type of guy. He’ll have to compete for his job. I believe he’ll be up for that challenge. We will welcome him back with open arms.”
In addition to earning the trust of the locker room, he’ll need to earn the trust of the front office. And that may be hard for Manziel to do, given his behavior in 2014 and the possibility that he’ll have further struggles away from the field — and given that the Browns wouldn’t be thinking so seriously about a move up for Marcus Mariota if they believed that Manziel can become the guy they hoped he’d be a year ago.