INDIANAPOLIS (92.3 The Fan) – If Johnny Manziel had any hope of remaining with the Browns, head coach Hue Jackson slammed the door emphatically shut on that Wednesday morning at the NFL Combine.
Jackson knew the question was coming, and he was armed with an authoritative response beyond standing by the team’s statement a few weeks ago.
“His future on our team will be addressed here pretty soon,” Jackson said referring to March 9th when the new league year begins and the team can release Manziel.
Dallas police are currently investigating a Jan. 30 incident in which Manziel’s ex girlfriend Colleen Crowley alleges that Manziel grabbed her by the hair, drug her into a car and hit her several times rupturing her eardrum.
A Texas judge granted Crowley a protective order against Manziel.
“Obviously there were some people involved in the situation that happened and I feel really bad about those things as they do happen,” Jackson said. “But I want to make sure that we all understand that, that behavior will not be tolerated as we move forward.
“Our organization is going to take a stand, and we’re going to move on from those kind of situations as we move forward.”
When pressed a few minutes later in the hallway following his presser about Manziel and whether or not he’s reached out to and spoken with the troubled quarterback, Jackson responded, “We’ve talked enough about Johnny, haven’t we?”
Jackson made it clear that character is just as important to him as talent when it comes to the type of players that he wants on – and representing – his football team.
“I want guys that have high character and guys that have high football character, and I think those two are a little different,” Jackson said. “Obviously, there’s been some things well-documented about some players here, and again I take them on a case-by-case basis and see if they fit exactly what it is that I’m talking about when I’m saying that.
“But I’m not going to bend them. I don’t think you can. I don’t think this day and age in pro football that you can. I think it’s too important, and I think it’s too important to the football team and too important to the organization.”
Manziel isn’t only problem child he has to deal with. Linebacker Armonty Bryant pleaded not guilty to 2 felony drug charges on Wednesday. While Jackson has spoken with Bryant about the situation, he is clearly bothered by it.
“I think he has talent,” Jackson said. “But again, it’s not just about talent. You’ve got to be a Cleveland Browns player and what we are looking for.”
Receiver Josh Gordon, suspended 3 times in 3 seasons by the NFL for violating drug policies, has applied for reinstatement. Jackson and the team has yet to hear if it has been granted and he can’t speak with Gordon until that happens.
“I think I will go through the process of spending time with him, and see if it’s the right fit for us,” Jackson said. “Obviously, he’s a very talented individual, but at the same time, it’s got to fit right for us as we move forward in this situation.”
Jackson believes in a case-by-case approach when it comes to dealing with certain issues, but he will not waver on accountability inside or outside of his locker room.
“We’re all going to start at zero,” Jackson said. “And we’re going to earn the right to respect each other and be accountable to each other. To me, everybody’s going to have a clean slate when they walk in the door but it’s got to be built day-by-day, and it goes both ways.”