Meeting the media for the first time all offseason, Johnny Manziel made it clear on Wednesday that football comes before flash in 2015.
“The money sign will not be back,” said the second-year Browns quarterback.
Entrenched with his teammates on the heels of a 10-week stay in rehab, last year’s first-round pick spoke honestly about his disastrous rookie season.
“I was a little bit of a distraction,” Manziel said. “I feel bad about that today. I feel bad about that throughout the last months of my life, really thinking back and seeing how much of my life outside of this field and outside of this locker room is documented.”
Said Manziel: “It’s not fair for (Pro Bowl cornerback) Joe Haden to be having to answer questions about me every day. It’s not fair for (All-Pro offensive tackle) Joe Thomas and all these guys to just continue to have questions asked about me. I don’t think that’s fair at all and I don’t want that on them.”
Manziel still has ground to cover on the field after a rash of offseason practices filled with too many ups and downs. The lightning-rod passer, though, appears to have gained a measure of awareness. It’s a start.
Here’s what else we learned from Manziel:
1. On his development in the new offense: “I’m doing some good things and I’m doing some bad things. I think that’s part of the OTA season. Some days you come out and you really feel like you have it down; the next day the defense will come down and throw wrinkles at you, and you have to go back to the film,” said Manziel, who talked about spending hours watching tape with veteran passer Josh McCown.
2. If he rediscovered his love for football: “I definitely missed it,” Manziel said. “This is a game that I do truly love.”
3. On feeling pressure to succeed after last year’s mess: “Last year was, in my mind, for me personally, a disaster. I didn’t come out and perform, and that’s what it comes down to,” said Johnny, adding: “I think it’s even my fault. The way that I’ve built myself up, I set myself up for a little bit of failure in that regard.”
4. On the city of Cleveland, Manziel said: “I’ve made this my home.”