Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel flipped the bird at the Washington Redskins' sideline during Monday night's preseason game, but former NFL signal-caller Boomer Esiason flipped his lid in response.
Johnny Football struggled to the tune of 7-of-16 passing for 65 yards and a touchdown against the 'Skins. However, the biggest news focused on the Heisman Trophy winner making an obscene gesture in the direction of Washington's taunting sideline, as seen in this photo courtesy of SportsCenter:
Per CBS New York, WFAN's Esiason had some pointed words for the Texas A&M product:
Yeah, OK. You're gonna get wrecked, son. You know, the NFL is about as unforgiving a place as there is on God's green earth. It is a men's place. It is for people that have a very, very strong constitution. ... Whether or not you can handle it is going to be determined by your maturity level. And right now, this kid is a baby.
Manziel is in the midst of an intense battle with incumbent Brian Hoyer for the starting job. While Manziel didn't have a particularly strong showing, he unquestionably outplayed his competition, who completed just two of his six attempts for 16 yards.
Even so, Esiason made it clear that he doesn't believe Manziel should be the Browns' starter when the regular season commences.
"I'm telling you right now, he is not even remotely close to being ready," Esiason said. "If he opened as the starting quarterback in Pittsburgh in Week 1, he would get his a– kicked. And his a– would be driven into the ground. Because I'm telling you, other teams hate this guy. Hate him."
Peter King of Sports Illustrated didn't share an opinion as extreme as Esiason's, but he agreed that Manziel's decision to respond to the Redskins in an obscene manner was unbecoming of an NFL signal-caller:
Another person who wasn't particularly thrilled with the situation, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, was Browns head coach Mike Pettine:
It does not sit well. I was informed of it after the game. It's disappointing, because what we talk about is being poised and being focused, that you have to be able to maintain your poise. ... That's a big part of all football players, especially the quarterback. We have to keep our composure. That's something we'll obviously address.
Manziel's actions didn't do anything to improve his reputation, but it is difficult to deny the notion that he has been the Browns' best quarterback through two preseason games.
That puts Pettine in a difficult position since he has to weigh out the positives and negatives of Johnny Football potentially starting Week 1. Esiason made his feelings on the matter known, but the only opinion that will ultimately count in the decision on pegging a starter is that of Pettine.
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