BEREA, Ohio — Manziel Mania has officially hit Cleveland.
There has never been so much hype in a city surrounding a back-up quarterback, but when that quarterback is Johnny Manziel, the buzz is taken to a whole new level.
The former Heisman Trophy winner practiced in front of the media for the first time on Saturday. He may be known as “Johnny Football,” but for now he is just the back-up quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.
“I’m a rookie, I need to earn my place, need to earn my keep and nothing here needs to be handed to me. I don’t need to be treated based off what I did in the past because that doesn’t mean a thing,” Manziel said.
Manziel will battle for the starting quarterback job with Brian Hoyer, a guy he listens to and respects.
“Every time he gets on the board, any time he is talking or speaking, I’m taking what he is saying and trying to grasp that and use it moving forward whether it’s on the field or wherever it may be,” he said.
Manziel was drafted 22nd overall in the NFL Draft. While waiting to be selected, he texted with Browns quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains. In his text he wrote “I want to wreck this league together.”
“Whenever I get a chance to play, I don’t want to come in and be mediocre, so to have success, you need to do some good things and that’s more what I was talking about than coming in and dominating as a rookie, it wasn’t that talk at all,” said Manziel.
Manziel also wrote in his text to Loggains that he wanted the Browns to hurry up and draft him saying he wanted to be here in Cleveland.
“People wanted to win here, and you got a sense of that and they are tired of losing, tired of not having success, and I felt like for me if I came here the team had pieces, I watched this team last year, and they were better than they were the year before,” Manziel said.
When the Browns had quarterback Vince Young on their roster, head coach Mike Pettine said that’s what a quarterback is supposed to look like. Johnny Manziel is five inches shorter.
“We want a quarterback that can maximize our chances to win. Is he in the classic mold? He’s not,” said Pettine. “I think if you are creative and build the right team around him, you can be successful.”