Manziel benched by Browns for off-field antics


Tom Withers - AP Sports Writer



Tom Withers

AP Sports Writer

BEREA — From starter to third-stringer. Johnny Manziel partied his way out of the lineup during Cleveland’s bye week.

Browns coach Mike Pettine benched the polarizing quarterback on Monday for his off-field behavior, a move that could signal Manziel’s days with the team are numbered.

Pettine said Josh McCown will start Monday night’s game against Baltimore in place of Manziel, who was recently handed the starting job but couldn’t keep it while the team had a week off.

Manziel’s benching comes in the wake of a video surfacing of him partying last weekend in Texas. He had promised not to bring any embarrassment to the team during its week off, but Pettine said he was both disappointed and frustrated by Manziel’s actions. The video showed Manziel holding a champagne bottle and rapping profane lyrics in a nightclub.

Pettine spoke with Manziel following practice Tuesday and informed him of his choice to bench him. Pettine said owner Jimmy Haslam and general manager Ray Farmer support his decision.

“Everyone in this organization wants what is best for Johnny just like we do for every player in our locker room. I’m especially disappointed in his actions and behavior because he has been working very hard,” Pettine said. “The improvements from last year to this year have been tremendous but he still has to consistently demonstrate that he has gained a good understanding of what it takes to be successful at the quarterback position on this level.

“It goes well beyond the field. We are going to continue to support him in every way possible, but at this point, we’ve decided it’s best to go with Josh as the starter going forward.”

The 22-year-old Manziel has shown progress on the field during his second NFL season. However, despite saying he had learned from his past, Manziel, who spent 70 days during the offseason in a rehab facility specializing in alcohol and drug treatment, he has not shown the maturity the Browns are looking for from their quarterback.

Tom Withers

AP Sports Writer