Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s love of quarterback Johnny Manziel has transformed to disillusionment.
The shift in Haslam’s attitude toward Manziel was glaring when he addressed the media backstage during the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel this week.
Haslam said selecting a quarterback in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft is on the table because the Browns have no idea who their starter will be next season. That’s an indictment of Manziel, the 22nd overall pick in last year’s draft who led the Browns to just three points in six quarters as a starter this past season.
“We’ve got to get a quarterback and got to get it fixed,” Haslam said. “Now that’s not to say Connor Shaw, who in the last game played really well -- as an undrafted rookie -- (could be the answer). He hadn’t worked with the first team any and played against a really good Baltimore Ravens team on the road, played well. And that’s not to say Johnny can’t do it, but they both have to prove it, that they can do it over a period of time.
“You’ve got to have a really good quarterback and our situation, as coach (Mike) Pettine says, is still muddy, and we don’t know who our quarterback is going to be next year. And what I would say to our fans is we’re going to continue to work really hard to find that quarterback who can make us a championship team.”
Manziel has shown a dedication to partying but not a commitment to doing everything in his power to ensure he'll improve as an NFL quarterback.
“I think Johnny has to show on and off the field he can be a professional,” Haslam said. “He knows that. Everybody in the organization has told him that. It'll be up to new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and Pettine to decide whether he can be the kind of quarterback we need him to be. He knows what we expect of him on and off the field, and it’s up to him to prove he can do that.”
Haslam mentioned veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer as an afterthought.
Asked where the Browns stand with Hoyer, Haslam said, “I think every option is open on the table for us in terms of who’s going to play next year.”