Johnny Manziel on short leash with Browns
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Johnny Manziel better behave himself this time.
Browns coach Mike Pettine warned Wednesday that the team won’t stand any more off-field shenanigans from Manziel, who has been given his starting job back after being benched two games.
"It would be hard for me to sit here and say, `We have a zero-tolerance policy,’" Pettine said. "But if something were to occur, I could imagine that the repercussions would be harsh."
Manziel will start Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, his first start since passing for a career-high 372 yards against Pittsburgh on Nov. 15. He was named Cleveland’s starter for the final six games, but got demoted after a video surfaced on social media of him partying in Austin, Texas, after he had promised Pettine and others he would not be a distraction during the team’s bye week.
With four games left, the Browns (2-10) are giving Manziel another chance.
Pettine also acknowledged for the first time that the Browns did not understand the depths of Manziel’s problems before they drafted the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner last year.
Manziel has been plagued by off-field issues since his arrival in Cleveland. He entered the NFL with a reputation for partying and he spent more than 70 days in a rehab facility last winter for an unspecified condition.
The team did its usual background check on Manziel, but Pettine said were some things the Browns didn’t uncover.
"I don’t think we anticipated that his problems, his issues, maybe how deep-rooted they were, the extent of it," Pettine said. "If you sat in our draft meetings and listened to the background reports on a lot of our guys and you took guys off the board based on that, there would be about five or six magnets left over to pick from.
"You have to decide how much of this is maturity? Was it early in his college year? Is it continuing? You do as much research as you can," he said. "That’s why the draft is hit or miss with so many guys just because of how impossible it is to predict those things as they move forward."
Pettine said he spoke on Tuesday with Manziel about the team’s expectations going forward. It wasn’t the first time Pettine has had that type of conversation with Manziel, who was demoted from starter to third string for violating the team’s trust.
"I’m a big believer in `show me, don’t tell me,’" Pettine said.