Bernie Kosar Says Johnny Manziel Hasn't Returned Calls, Comments on QB's Conduct

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIJanuary 12, 2016

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR HARD ROCK INTERNATIONAL - Former Cleveland Browns quarterback, Bernie Kosar speaks to the crowd at the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park Grand Opening, on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 in Northfield, OH. (Photo by Jason Miller/Invision for Hard Rock International/AP Images)
Jason Miller/Associated Press

A strong argument could be made that Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel needs all the guidance he can get as his NFL future hangs in the balance amid self-destructive off-field issues.

Bernie Kosar is a Cleveland legend who had success with the Browns and is attempting to help Manziel have a similar impact for a team and a fanbase desperate to win. The embattled 23-year-old hasn't responded to Kosar, according to a Tuesday report by USA Today's Josh Peter.   

"I'm embarrassed to even tell you how many times I tried. I have tried to call him directly 18 different ways. If he chooses not to talk to me, that's his choice," said Kosar of contacting Manziel, per Peter. "I'm not mad at him. But there's a point where there's an element of respect that's involved."

Respect isn't something Manziel seems to be mindful of when it comes to the Browns, whether he's aware of it or not.

His inability to develop quickly enough into the franchise QB he's shown the potential to be has at least contributed in part to Cleveland's recent woes. It is also a big reason general manager Ray Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine were fired after this year's 3-13 season.

Pete Smith of Draft Breakdown analyzed the situation, indicating Manziel's rejection of Kosar's counsel may be the last straw for even the most fervent supporters of the former Heisman Trophy winner:

Although he made noticeable strides on the gridiron in 2015, Manziel continued to self destruct on the side, sabotaging his efforts to progress even more by partying.

"That's definitely a possibility," said Kosar about Manziel's penchant for nightlife possibly ruining his career. "I'm not saying he doesn't have a chance to change, but that's a possibility."

Being benched for lying about a video of him partying during the Browns' bye week wasn't enough of a wake-up call for Manziel. He reportedly proceeded to flee Cleveland before the regular-season finale, failed to show up for a medical exam while in concussion protocol and spent the Saturday before game day in Las Vegas.

The headline-making episodes Manziel has made embracing his "Johnny Football" persona made Kosar recall what his former college coach Howard Schnellenberger said to him about a QB's behavior.

"If you are not doing the right thing, you can’t expect the rest of the team to," Kosar said. "That advice has always stuck with me, and I would love to tell Johnny that. He could use it."

Kosar said he can't "comprehend [Manziel] not wanting to be" at the game—a 28-12 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers—to learn as much as possible by being in attendance.

The Browns have the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. They have a bunch of holes on the roster to fill and still considerable uncertainty at Manziel's position.

If he doesn't follow Kosar's advice, Manziel has to at least do something to show his commitment to Cleveland. Otherwise, he could be destined to be a locker room outcast, a first-round bust or a career backup and not the franchise signal-caller of the future he was drafted to be.

Josh McCown is under contract for two more years and registered a 93.3 passer rating this past season. For Cleveland to stick by Manziel at this juncture—and possibly pass on a long-term answer under center near the top of the draft—is a risk that may not be worthwhile.