by Aaron Wilson
July 26, 02014
Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel struck a humble tone, acknowledging some missteps this offseason where he's partied hard everywhere from Las Vegas to Texas to Los Angeles.
"At the end of the day, I've made some rookie mistakes,'' Manziel said upon reporting to training camp. "There's some things that I wish I could've gone back and done a little differently, but I'm continuing to move forward and trying to represent this organization in a positive manner and a positive light, so just very excited to be back in camp and it's football 24/7 and that's what I love doing. That's what I live for and it's what my job, so for me, I'm very excited to be back and can't wait to get this underway.''
Manziel was photographed while rolling up a $20 bill, causing concern with the Browns.
Does he think it's hurt his chances of winning the starting job?
"I don't think (it's hurt me),'' Manziel said. "I think there are definitely things I can do moving forward to better act as a professional and at the same time I'm still learning how to do that, still getting used to this role, still getting used to this league, still getting used to being a pro football player. I'm not in college anymore and there's just things I need to do better and that's just part of being a professional. Hopefully with time and going through this season and as time goes on, I'll get better at doing that.''
Manziel opened his press conference saying he's had a long talk with coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer about his behavior.
"Just to save you guys a lot of time, me and coach Pettine and Ray Farmer have really talked about a lot of things that have transpired over the course of the offseason. For me, my main thing is, people within this building, my teammates, the coaching staff, the higher-ups in this organization we've all been on the same page, we've all been good and very eager to be moving forward.''
When asked about the dollar bill rolling photo, Manziel didn't address it publicly.
"I think I just spoke on that a little bit, that we're going to keep these things (private),'' Manziel said. "I've talked about that with coach Pettine, I've talked about it with Ray Farmer and the people I need to talk about that with, and moving forward they're good with everything, and I've told them everything that I need to and everything's been good.''
Manziel did make it clear, though, that he's not done having fun. The frat party will continue at some point in the future.
"I don't think there's anything wrong with me going out and having a nightlife, having a social life,'' Manziel said. "I mean I am 21 years old and I do like going out and it was the offseason. It's free time for us and if I want to go out and hang out with my friends or go to nightclubs or do things like that then I think that's within my rights to be doing that and I think there's other guys throughout the league that are doing that and I'm not trying to compare myself to anybody else but I think that's within my rights to be doing that.''
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun
Even though he'll start out camp with the second-team offense, Manziel is determined to beat out Brian Hoyer for the starting job.
"I think coach Pettine and the staff here has called this an open competition and I believe that it is,'' Manziel said. "I'm just trying to get in here everyday and trying to be better as a player, as a teammate, really hone in on my craft and try and make this football team as good as I possibly can. Whatever my role is on this team, I think that will be decided with the play within these next few weeks.
"At the end of the day what I want is what's best for this team and what's best for this organization moving forward because this is about the Cleveland Browns. This isn't about me, this is about Brian, this isn't about just the quarterback position. It's 22 positions on this team to make this thing work and come together, so it's not just about us.''
Coach Pettine re-iterated that it will be 'very difficult' for Manziel to win the job, but that he's ahead of where they expected in the playbook. He said the staff has been very pleased with Manziel's attention to detail and knowledge and conditioning.
"He's very focused,'' said Pettine. "That's already shown up by the way he attacked his conditioning test and how he's been on the field and in the meeting rooms these past couple of days.''
He added that Manziel's biggest battle will be between him and the playbook and not between him and Hoyer.
"I interpret it exactly the way he said it,'' Manziel said. "It's not two short little plays anymore. You have a lot to a play call, you have a lot to read, you have a lot of different things that weren't asked of me at (Texas) A&M. You have to deal with protections, deal with certain things and moving forward, yeah I have to adapt to that. I have to get better and continue to learn the game of football more and more. I'm not sitting up here today saying I know everything or I'm even close to perfecting this thing. I'm still a young guy, a young player and there's a lot to learn and a lot for me to do moving forward.''
Manziel stressed that his mindset is to bring it on and that he doesn't feel like the underdog at all.
"I'm absolutely a very competitive person and I'm going to come out here everyday and compete,'' he said. "I'm not going to back down from any kind of competition or anybody that really tests me but at the same time I'm worried about myself and getting better as a football player and getting better at drops, throwing with accuracy, throwing on the run and everything, really commanding a huddle, letting these guys see me on the field more and more. There's a lot that comes with being a rookie. I haven't been here very long so there's a lot.''
He said he's anticipating a warm welcome from Browns fans tomorrow, some of the same folks that have catapulted him to No. 1 in the NFL in jersey sales.
"The fans have been incredible,'' he said. "From the day that I got drafted in New York they've been incredible. The buzz about sports in this city in general, not just football but you look at basketball now, you look at the Indians, but especially with the Browns, this state, this town has been great for us and it's been great to me personally.''
Manziel might be No. 1 in jersey sales, but he knows he's the No. 2 most popular athlete in town with his good buddy LeBron James back.
"Obviously, I think it's great for this city. I think it's great for the Cavs. I think it's great for me,'' he said. "It's obviously a very good friend of mine and now moving forward pretty much a business partner of mine. I've exchanged texts back and forth and him being in the area, right down the road definitely excites me.
"It's going to be awesome to go to Cavs games and watch him play, the best basketball player in the world play so I'm very excited and excited he can come watch us play and be involved with this program again like he was before. More than anything, I'm happy for him and his family and being able to come back home and he loves it here."
Johnny Mania will get going full swing Saturday morning when training camp opens to the public at 9:30 a.m.
"I'm very excited to be back in Cleveland, back with the teammates, the coaches, just being in the environment, I think everybody's ready to get back to football, get back to what we all love doing,'' he said.