Joe Thomas: Manziel is ‘night and day’ compared to rookie season

Tackle Joe Thomas says quarterback Johnny Manziel has remembered how much football matters to him.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

By Jesse Reed

Don’t write off Johnny Manziel’s NFL career yet, Cleveland Browns fans.

According to universally respected teammate and starting left tackle Joe Thomas, there’s a fresh face walking the halls at the Browns practice facility these days:

“Last year on a Saturday, you might see a picture of him on Instagram floating in a swan drinking champagne,” Thomas told NFL Media’s Andrea Kremer on Tuesday. “This year on a Saturday if you came in the building, you’d see him studying his playbook and watching film with his coach. It’s pretty apparent he’s realized how important football is to him, and he’s realized that in the NFL you can’t get away with maybe some of the things that you did in college because it’s a big boys’ game now.”

This is huge news for the Browns, and even more importantly, for Manziel, who was recently released after a two month stay at a rehab facility.

No doubt he still has a lot of work to do to earn the trust of the Browns locker room after last year’s high jinx. It was less than a month ago that Thomas made public his opinion that Manziel “probably lost a lot of trust among the guys on the team.”

But after a rookie campaign that can only be described as atrocious—both on and off the field—it appears Johnny Football may have finally turned the corner. As Thomas indicated in his interview with Kremer, “To see the guy in the building right now is night and day from where he was last year in his commitment, and I think he has a bright future ahead of him.”

While talent and athleticism have never been in question as it concerns Manziel, his commitment to learning the nuances of the game and putting in the time it takes to become great have been lacking in the past.

Perhaps the tide truly has turned.

Knowing the unending suffering of the loyal Cleveland fans, though, it’s safe to say they’ll take a wait-and-see approach to the whole thing.

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