Browns QB coach: Manziel asked Cleveland to draft him
MAY 16, 2014 9:55a ET
Even before he ever throws a pass at a closed minicamp to a receiver that most likely will never make the team, the legend of Johnny Football is still growing.
The latest story making its rounds is that Johnny Manziel sat in the NFL Draft's green room last week sending text messages to Browns quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains encouraging the Browns to make a trade and select him.
Among those texts were messages from Manziel to Loggains that said, "Hurry up and draft me" and "I want to wreck this league together."
Appearing on an ESPN Radio station in Arkansas Thursday night, Loggains said he then forwarded those text messages to owner Jimmy Haslam and coach Mike Pettine.
As Loggains' story goes, he was summoned to the draft room after forwarding the texts.
"Mr. Haslam said, 'Pull the trigger. We're trading up to go get this guy,'" Loggains said.
The Browns have spent the better part of a week denying that Haslam played any role in the selection of Manziel, which came after the Browns made their third trade of the first round and gave up a third-round pick to move up four spots and draft Manziel at No. 22.
At a speaking engagment last Monday, Haslam admitted to thinking "it was very important" that the Browns select a quarterback but said it was "solely" general manager Ray Farmer's decision to first trade down with Buffalo and that it was Farmer's decision to trade back up and select Manziel.
Haslam said the Browns selected Manziel because he was the team's highest-rated available quarterback, not because "he was from the SEC or (any reason) that he would help us at the box office."
Said Loggains in the radio interview: "When I decided to take this job in Cleveland, I knew that our owner liked Johnny a lot. I think I worked out 14 quarterbacks, went to their schools, their high schools and worked them out, ate dinner with them, brought them to Cleveland. Once we finished all of our evaluations, it was Johnny's name at the top of the list and there was everyone else, so I knew we needed a quarterback and we were very high on Johnny."
At the same speaking engagement, Haslam said the Browns have been telling Manziel "to act like a backup." His battle with veteran Brian Hoyer for the starting quarterback's job should begin next week when the full team begins organized team activity (OTA) practices.
Loggains' comments are the first details from the draft room to emerge. Earlier, Farmer said the Browns had discussions with the Tennessee Titans about moving up to No. 11 and talked to several teams about other possibilities, but nothing worked out until the Eagles were on the clock at No. 22.
After the draft last week, Farmer answered a question about the Dallas Cowboys and No. 16 by saying "I don't know that I was surprised as much as I was happy" that the Cowboys passed on Manziel.
Farmer also said, "I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that Jimmy Haslam at no point demanded, requested or tried to influence the process in any way. He definitely asked questions. He'll definitely give his opinion of what he thinks and all of those things are fine, but at the end of the day he trusted the football staff to make the decisions that we thought were the right decisions for this football team."
In the interview, Loggains said what many assumed -- that the Browns thought the Kansas City Chiefs would select Manziel at No. 23.
"I knew definitely that Johnny was very high on our board and someone that was in our discussions the weeks leading up to the draft," Loggains said. "I knew there was a good chance if he was there at some point we were going to take him or even move up to go get him."