BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel doesn’t need to be told he’s a popular guy.
Rarely a weekend goes by anymore that Manziel isn’t prominently featured on TMZ and on social media.
Manziel, who spoke while working with kids at the NFL’s Play60 football clinic at the Browns training facility in Berea, remained unapologetic Friday about enjoying life during his free time when he’s able to get away from football.
“Things get blown out of proportion sometimes and people seem to follow me,” Manziel said.
His exploits since being drafted include a picture of him floating on an inflatable swan with champagne and most recently a video of him shouting into large stacks of money as if to be talking into a cell phone.
Head coach Mike Pettine has maintained that he won’t micromanage his players off the field but there have been conversations with Manziel to be more aware of his surroundings and those around him when he is out having fun.
“I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong,” Manziel said. “I’m going out. Everybody goes out on the weekends and enjoys their life and lives their life and just for them, they don’t have people that when they walk into a place pull out their phones and all they want to do is follow me around and record everything, so my situation is unique and different and now more than ever I’ve seen that it’s an every weekend thing. Wherever I’m at, whether it’s here in Cleveland on a weekend, or in Dallas or anywhere on a weekend people want to record what I’m doing because they think it’s a story.
“Everybody goes out and has fun. Everybody goes out and does that and I’m not doing anything that’s putting myself in a harmful situation. I’m not doing anything that’s putting my team or jeopardizing what I do here throughout the week, or what I’m looking forward to doing this season.”
While Manziel conceded that he needs to be more mindful of those cameras that follow him around and what he’s doing, that doesn’t mean he plans on changing how he lives his life.
“I’m not going to change who I am for anybody,” Manziel said. “I’m growing up and continuing to learn from my mistakes and trying not to make the same ones over and over again, but am I going to live in a shell or am I just going to hide from everybody and not do anything? I don’t think that’s the way I should live my life and I’m not going to do it.
“I’m here, I’m very committed to football. I’m committed to my job, but on the weekends, I’m going to enjoy my time off. We deserve it. We work hard here. We’ve worked hard since the draft. We worked hard to get drafted and put ourselves in a good position at the Combine, even after that, working to stay in shape. I am going to enjoy my time off. I’m very about football and very about my job, which doesn’t get reported or won’t get reported, but I am going to enjoy my time off. That’s I think what everybody else does and that’s what I should do.”
Recently Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith, Warren Moon and Joe Montana have criticized Manziel and his lifestyle.
“Just because of what’s reported in the media of what’s getting out on social media mean that’s all I’m doing in my life,” Manziel said. “Just my weekends aren’t what I’m doing 7 days a week. That’s 2 days out of the week and there’s 5-6 other days that I’m here going through my playbook and working out just like every other rookie.
“Nothing that I’m doing on the weekends affects my job. Nothing that I’m doing on the weekends is hopefully not hurting any of my teammates in my locker room.”
Manziel was humble as he spoke about being a rookie Friday and acknowledged his teammates are tired of fielding questions about him and his exploits off the field.
“My teammates are tired of getting asked about me because I’m the low man on the totem pole, I’m just like any rookie out here,” Manziel said. “More than anything they’re tired of that. They’re tired of the hype, which I am as well.
“I want to wake up one week and not have my name going through something and I’m working on getting better at that.”
Manziel said Pettine was “spot on” in saying the he’s behind Brian Hoyer for the starting job heading into training camp next month but he plans on spending time over the next month working hard behind the scenes to prepare for the competition.
“I want to play,” Manziel said. “That’s what anybody wants to do that’s been a starter in the past and been playing. They want to play. Obviously I’m very competitive and I remember my redshirt year when I didn’t play. It’s tough to sit there but at the same time there’s a lot of knowledge that I learned from Ryan Tannehill so will it be the end of the world if that’s not the case? No. I think you take it in stride and you learn a lot from your situation and you make the most of what situation you’re in.
“To say I don’t want to be the starter would be ridiculous. I absolutely want to start. That’s my goal and hopefully I can achieve that. If not, it’s not the end of the world.”
Manziel and the rest of the NFL’s rookies are going through the league’s Rookie Symposium that covers everything from finances to life off the field and lessens about getting into trouble off the field.
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