BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The Browns aren’t worried about Johnny Manziel running out of bounds off the field.
Or floating on pool rafts.
After a weekend of partying in Texas, where he was photographed floating on an inflatable swan while drinking champagne in a nightclub pool, Manziel was on the field Tuesday as the Browns opened a mandatory three-day minicamp.
The team is not making their popular Heisman Trophy-winning rookie quarterback — or starter Brian Hoyer — available to the media this week.
Manziel has left Cleveland each of the past three weekends, first taking a trip to Las Vegas, then to Los Angeles for a seminar with other rookies and then to his home state, where in addition to having some fun, he got drafted by the San Diego Padres and attended Game 2 of the NBA finals in San Antonio, sitting near Miami’s bench while wearing a retro Cavaliers’ cap.
Following practice, Browns first-year coach Mike Pettine said he’s not worried about how his young QB spends his free time.
“I’m not concerned,” Pettine said. “I would become concerned if it was something criminal and I would be concerned if it affected his job. There’s a lot of our guys, if when they leave here if they were followed around, you’d get some very similar pictures. I don’t know about an inflatable swan, but you’d still get some pictures.”
Manziel has said he intends to keep living his life to the fullest, and Pettine doesn’t feel the need to monitor the 21-year-old’s every move.
“The philosophy here is that we’re not going to micro-manage the guys,” Pettine said. “I was involved in an event this weekend, and if there were some cameras at certain times it probably wouldn’t have been the most flattering. It was a group of coaches out and we had a good time, but we were responsible. When it becomes irresponsible or it becomes part of breaking the law or it’s something we feel is a potential problem, we’ll step in.”
Manziel is currently listed as Cleveland’s backup behind Hoyer. The two will compete during training camp next month, when each pass will be dissected.
The dueling QBS are already under scrutiny. During Tuesday’s workout, Manziel took snaps with Cleveland’s first-team offense as Hoyer continues to be limited as a precaution while recovering from offseason knee surgery.
When he was on the field, Hoyer showed his ability to read the defense and release the ball more quickly than Manziel, who is still learning the nuances of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s system and adjusting to the speedier pro game.
That’s not to say Manziel didn’t show progress.
“He’s getting more comfortable in the huddle, calling the plays,” Pettine said. “I think he’s got a very nice touch with the deep ball. We’ve added some of the zone-read stuff that Kyle’s run with RG3 in Washington and he’s done a nice job handling that. He makes improvement every day.”
As for Manziel’s extra-curricular activities, his teammates seem to have his back.
Safety Donte Whitner was asked if there’s a need to tell Johnny Football to tone down his act.
“Yeah, but I don’t think he’s out of hand with it,” Whitner said. “If he’s not out every weekend, he’s just a young guy. So going to Vegas, I probably would’ve been there with Johnny too.”
Wide receiver Andrew Hawkins hasn’t seen any reason to think Manziel isn’t taking his job seriously.
“I don’t know what Johnny does on the weekends. But it’s none of my business,” he said. “He’s out here working his butt off. I’m not keeping tabs on where he goes Friday through Sunday. Johnny works hard, and that’s all anybody cares about.”
Pettine understands there’s a bright spotlight on Manziel, who seems to relish the hype. In being so public with his actions, Manziel could be placing himself in precarious situations, but Pettine is confident the former Texas A&M star can handle it.
“I think it’s something he’s used to,” Pettine said. “I think that he understands that that (publicity) comes with the territory, but I also think he’s a young man that he doesn’t want his lifestyle or how he lives it to be affected by social media. That he’s not going to (say) `Hey, I’m not leaving my house.’
“I don’t think he wants to be that way and it just goes back to we’re not going to micromanage him until we feel that it is an issue, and if it’s not affecting him on the field, then I don’t think that it’s anything we need to address at this point.”
NOTES: Pro Bowl WR Josh Gordon continues to practice as the team awaits word on a possible league suspension. … LT Joe Thomas was full-go after being limited in recent OTAs. … Pettine confirmed rookie LG Joel Bitonio injured his ankle but said he is expected to be ready for training camp.
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