Former NFL coach and ESPN analyst Jon Gruden is preaching patience when it comes to the Cleveland Browns dealing with Johnny Manziel, who chose partying and lying as a way to thank the team for awarding him the starting job.
“If he wants to be a great quarterback and realize his potential, let this be the day he gets awakened,” Gruden told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.
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Clearly falling to the side of those who believe Manziel still needs to find his path and that he eventually will become a fabulous NFL quarterback, Gruden would give him another chance.
Many would beg to differ, believing Manziel has already had plenty of time to wake up.
An extended 10-week stay at a rehabilitation center that Manziel checked himself into this past February apparently was not enough to tame the quarterback, who went on a recent two-night partying spree during his bye week.
Still, Gruden further defended Manziel, who he worked with for a few days prior to the start of the Browns’ training camp in July, pointing out that he is still only 22.
“He’s a young kid,” Gruden said. “He should still be at Texas A&M. Sometimes you have to remember that.”
Referencing a former quarterback with a knack for partying as well, whose number was just retired by the Green Bay Packers, Gruden compared Manziel to Brett Favre.
“We traded for a guy when I first got to Green Bay that Atlanta said was a little bit of a hell raiser and it turned out OK for us,” he said. “You know what I mean?”
Hearing Gruden pour the praises on Manziel makes one wonder if the Browns will try to retain his services next season.
Though, in order for everyone to see the diamond in the rough that Gruden recognizes, Manziel must mature and commit himself 100 percent to becoming the face of the franchise — a guy the Browns can legitimately trust to not further embarrass the team.