Browns Deny Report That Owner Jimmy Haslam Ordered Johnny Manziel Pick

NFL Draft FootballThe Cleveland Browns had quite an eventful first round of the 2014 NFL draft. According to reports, the Browns were seconds away from making it even more eventful.

The Browns started the night with the fourth overall pick in the draft but traded down to the ninth pick to select cornerback Justin Gilbert. They then traded up to the 22nd overall pick to take quarterback Johnny Manziel. Apparently, that wasn’t always the plan.

In the days following the draft, a rumor began spreading that Cleveland general manager Ray Farmer wanted to take Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater instead of Manziel.

According to ESPNCleveland.com, the Browns prepared a card with Bridgewater’s name on it and were 10 seconds away from sending it in when the pick was changed to Manziel at the behest of owner Jimmy Haslam.

When asked about their draft day moves, the Browns vehemently denied that Haslam forced their hand on Johnny Football.

“I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that Jimmy Haslam at no point demanded, requested or tried to influence the process in any way,” Farmer told reporters, via ESPNCleveland. “He definitely asked questions. He’ll definitely give his opinion of what he thinks, and all of those things are fine, but at the end of the day, he trusted the football staff to make the decisions that we thought were the right decisions for this football team.”

Browns spokesman Zak Gilbert also shot down the report.

“That is not true,” Gilbert said. “I was in the draft room. That didn’t happen.”

The Browns owner made headlines on draft weekend when he told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio that a homeless man told him to draft the star Texas A&M quarterback.

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