CLEVELAND — No, he’s not Johnny Footbrawl.
Johnny Manziel said he did everything he could to escape a “very aggressive” fan before an altercation in the lobby of the Browns rookie quarterback’s apartment building.
Speaking on Friday for the first time since last week’s incident, Manziel said the man, identified in a police report as Chris Gonos, was “a very intoxicated, very aggressive person that approached me in the lobby.” Manziel said he went out to dinner Friday night with his mother and roommate and had returned to The 9, a downtown hotel where he has an apartment, when he was confronted by “what has been made out to be a fan.”
Manziel did not name Gonos but said the man was “putting his hands on me, kind of toying with me.” The former Heisman Trophy winner said he and his roommate tried to coax the man into another elevator and “the guy got very aggressive” before security was able to intervene.
Manziel declined to provide any details about the skirmish, which police said took place at 2:30 a.m., and he would not say if he threw any punches. Manziel showed no visible markings from the altercation.
Manziel said he does not plan to press charges.
Gonos had told police he was struck and assaulted by “Johnny Football and his entourage.”
Manziel dismissed the idea that he’s surrounded by people when he’s out in public.
“There is no entourage, I live with one other person and my mother was upstairs,” the first-round draft pick said. “That’s about as much entourage as you get, being with my mom. ”
Manziel said he has interactions with fans on a daily basis and typically enjoys them.
“I’m approached by fans every single day in Cleveland,” he said. “There’s nothing I love more than when somebody comes up and talks to me about the history of the Browns or how passionate they are about this team. I treat every fan the same, with a lot of respect, and I’m very thankful for them being the fans that they are. I don’t think our league would be that without them.
“It was a very unfortunate situation, a situation that was tried to be averted at all costs and one that I was unfortunately not able to really get away from.”
Manziel said he called Browns general manager Ray Farmer and coach Mike Pettine immediately after he awoke on Saturday to explain what happened.
“I’m very thankful for the Browns having my back in all this and supporting me in a situation that seemed to be a little blown out of proportion,” he said.
Farmer had said the team was concerned about the time the incident took place. Manziel said his lifestyle has changed “dramatically” since he came to Cleveland. There was a lot made of his out-of-town partying during the offseason, but the 22-year-old understands he has a responsibility to the Browns.
“I know there’s other guys around the league and other guys in this locker room that do the same thing and enjoy their time when they’re out of the building,” he said, “and I know that at night when I go to bed I need to make sure that I’m ready and capable of going to work the next day and doing my job to the duties that I have being in this building the next day.”
Thumbnail photo via Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports Images
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