While much of the national attention the Cleveland Browns have garnered over the past couple of days has centered on rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel, there is the little matter of the incumbent starter in Cleveland.
His name is Brian Hoyer. You may remember the former Cleveland St. Ignatius star from late September when he completed a combined 55-of-92 passes for 590 yards and five touchdowns in victories over the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals. The Browns also won in Week 5 against Buffalo to improved to 3-2, but Hoyer went down with a knee injury. Cleveland went 1-10 under the direction of Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell, neither of whom remain on the Browns roster.
Now the potential hometown hero Hoyer is rehabilitating the injury that cut short his season, but he does not intend to give up the starting role without a fight.
New head coach Mike Pettine told reporters Thursday night after the first round was over that the organization reached out to Hoyer upon picking Manziel out of Texas A&M, and general manager Ray Farmer confirmed reports the veteran QB’s response to the challenge of Manziel was something along the lines of, "Bring it on."
"That’s what he said," Farmer acknowledged. "I’m the one that texted him and reached out to him, and that’s exactly what he said."
As for the rookie, Manziel looked to sidestep the issue of a looming quarterback battle and praised Hoyer.
"Brian obviously is a very good player who I really do respect, and he’s a teammate of mine now," Manziel said. "I’m going in to try and show these guys that I’m obviously here to compete and see what I bring to the table. Obviously, that’s the coaches decision, and whatever happens in that regard will happen. That’s a teammate of mine, a guy who played extremely well last year until unfortunately he was sidelined by an injury. I’m just going to go in and get a chance to meet Brian and work with him. We’ll be together a lot."