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Sometimes, it's the little things that separate the NFL franchises that occupy the rarefied air of success from those that regularly inhabit the bottom rung of failure.
When the Cleveland Browns drafted Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, I praised the decision. For a star-crossed organization like the Browns, Manziel will bring energy, confidence and swagger. He won't be intimidated going into Cincinnati, Baltimore or Pittsburgh.
With Manziel, it's not just his on-field, improvisational genius that makes people gravitate toward him like moths to a flame; it's his charisma, unique showmanship and sense of the moment that do so.
When you draft Manziel, you draft the complete package, not just the guy who will go out there for three hours on Sunday and try to win you a ballgame. You're getting "Johnny Football" in addition to Johnny Manziel.
And that's a good thing.
That is what made it so shocking and disappointing to read this quote from hapless Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, via Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer:
(Coach) Mike Pettine said it very well ‘Johnny, right now you’re our backup quarterback and you need to act like such. We were very frank with him on Friday that that’s the expectation. ‘You’re the backup quarterback. This is a hard-working blue collar town. This isn’t Hollywood. We want you to come in here, work hard and work as hard as anybody on the team.
Wow. What a mind-numbingly ridiculous quote.
Could you imagine if the Seattle Seahawks had told their 2012 third-round pick, quarterback Russell Wilson, to act like a backup?
Instead, Seattle empowered him with the mantra of competition, and Wilson went out and won the job in the preseason from presumed starter Matt Flynn. Less than two calendar years later, the Seahawks are world champions.
Manziel wasn't drafted in the first round to be a backup quarterback; that's not what the fanbase wants. Manziel shouldn't be neutered by an organization that clearly doesn't know how to handle someone of his stature.
Per Cabot, the Browns denied the credential requests of "dozens of members of the national press" for their rookie camp this weekend, which is completely and totally asinine. Why bring in Manziel if you aren't going to enjoy everything that comes with him?
Decisions like that are what separates teams like the Browns from the Seahawks.
Hopefully at some point soon, the Browns will do right by the Dawg Pound and let Manziel off the leash.