BEREA, Ohio — Johnny Manziel was completely at ease on Friday morning in Berea, and wide-eyed kids took instructions from him and ran out for passes as part of the NFL Rookie Symposium.
The Browns rookie qb could glance around and see the crush of cameras from local and national media, following his movements.
This is nothing new for Manziel, who finds cameras in his face a lot more away from the football field than do many of his much more established teammates, or stars from all around the NFL.
He has been on TMZ and social media. He claims to be used to it, but you can tell the situation has him frustrated. He said “Things get blown out of proportion sometimes and people seem to follow me.”
That might be the understatement of the year as we have seen him on an inflatable swan, sipping champagne, or the recent video of him holding up a stack of money.
Manziel said Friday he will still enjoy his weekends and he will not live his life in a shell. “I don’t think I am doing anything wrong. I’m going out. Everybody goes out on the weekends and enjoys their life.”
Mike Pettine has said he will not micromanage his players off the field but there have been conversations with the rookie to be more aware of his surroundings. Manziel told me he has done nothing to put him behind the eight ball in trying to make it in the NFL.
“I’m not doing anything that’s putting myself in a harmful situation. I’m not doing anything that’s putting my team or jeopardizing what I do here throughout the week, or what I’m looking forward to doing this season.”
Hall of Famers like Joe Montana, Emmitt Smith and Warren Moon have made negative comments about Johnny Football and his lifestyle.
“Just because of what’s reported in the media or of what’s getting out on social media doesn’t mean that’s all I’m doing in my life. Just my weekends aren’t what I am doing 7 days a week.”
Manziel knows the subject is wearing on others. “My teammates are getting tired of getting asked about me because I am the low man on the totem pole.” He went on to say, “They are tired of the hype, which I am, as well.”
Manziel said coach Pettine was “spot on” in saying he was behind Brian Hoyer for the starting job heading into camp.
“To say I don’t want to be the starter would be ridiculous. I absolutely want to start. That’s my goal and hopefully I can achieve that. If not, it’s not the end of the world.”