Johnny Manziel will need more than an apology to find his way onto a football field this fall.
Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine indicated as much Monday during a radio interview with 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland, telling the hosts it’s “fair to say” Josh McCown will be the favorite to earn the starting quarterback job entering training camp.
Of course, Manziel has the opportunity to beat out McCown before Week 1, as do other backups Thad Lewis and Connor Shaw. Yet Pettine’s statement still is a departure from before the NFL draft, when he said he wasn’t ready to tab McCown — or any other QB on the roster — as the favorite.
Manziel’s rookie season didn’t exactly go smoothly, as he failed to throw a touchdown pass and completed just 50 percent of his passes in two starts, both Cleveland losses. He followed up that disappointing campaign with a trip to rehab in February, but he was released from the facility in April and issued an apology to the team and fans shortly after.
McCown is coming off an abysmal season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so Johnny Football emerging as the Browns’ starting quarterback isn’t out of the question. Judging by Pettine’s comments, however, it’s clear he prefers going with the veteran, at least to start training camp.
“Josh has proven in the right circumstances that he can be successful,” Pettine told The Fan. “I think it was pretty clear to us when we looked into the results of what happened for him a year ago (in Tampa Bay) that a lot of those circumstances were outside of his control that made the year as difficult as it was.”
Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images