Pettine addresses TMZ report on disagreements over starting quarterback

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BEREA, Ohio — Coach Mike Pettine spent part of a Wednesday news conference sorting out the details of a TMZ report which quoted three anonymous Browns starters as saying they wanted Johnny Manziel to start at quarterback over Josh McCown.

Manziel led the Browns to their only victory of the season in Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans when he started for an injured McCown who was in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Pettine was asked if players have shown disgust with Josh as the starting quarterback.

“No,” Pettine said. “Are we going to have a 1000 percent agreement on how we are using players and how we are doing that? No,” said Pettine. “It falls into the coach’s coach, and players have their jobs to do, are they going to have their opinions, certainly, I’m confident there is no rift in the locker room.”

Pettine declined to say if he talked to the team specifically about the TMZ report but did add that they talk to the team periodically about media policy and putting your name on something when you go on the record.

Pettine says the coaches have an open door policy that players can use if they have questions or concerns about anything involved with the team. Pettine says he is confident in their plan, and they will move forward with that plan of McCown as the starting quarterback.

Prior to Wednesday’s news conference, the Browns locked up quarterback Austin Davis to a two-year extension.

“Austin was a guy we liked,” Pettine said. “A lot of times those windows will open up, sometimes at the request of the agent and if the two sides are in agreement, that there is an opportunity to get something done then you move forward and get it done.”

Bill Kuharich played a big part of the signing of Davis, Kuharich is serving as the general manager while Ray Farmer remains suspended for the first four games for texting during a game last season.

“We like his skill set,” Pettine said of Davis. “We like his mentality, we like his competitiveness, how he approaches football and we felt like it was a win for us to get him signed to a longer term contract.”

The Browns (1-2) travel to San Diego (1-2) to face the Chargers on Sunday.

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