CLEVELAND — Johnny Manziel’s timeout has ended. He’s starting for the Browns again.
The polarizing quarterback will play Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, returning to the lineup after being benched two games by coach Mike Pettine for defiantly partying during the team’s bye week.
Pettine is giving Manziel another chance after the second-year pro broke a promise that he wouldn’t become a distraction when the team was off last month. Manziel had been named the starter for Cleveland’s final six games on Nov. 17, only to throw away the opportunity with his escapades.
Manziel was demoted to third string, but he moved up one spot last week when Josh McCown sustained a season-ending collarbone break.
Manziel will replace Austin Davis, who started Sunday’s 37-3 embarrassing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Davis, the 24th quarterback to start for the Browns since 1999, didn’t do anything to lose his job but not enough to hang on to it either. The Browns lost two wide receivers to injuries against the Bengals.
The Browns have changed starting quarterbacks six times this season — this is the third time Manziel has been given the job.
Manziel’s latest promotion continues two turbulent, drama-filled seasons in the NFL for the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner. He made more headlines with his antics outside of football last season and spent 10 weeks during the winter in a Pennsylvania rehab facility specializing in treatment for alcohol and substance abuse.
Thumbnail photo via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel