Johnny Manziel has 'positive' 1st step


CLEVELAND -- Johnny Manziel spent his first weekend in the NFL hanging around other rookies and unsigned free agents.

He's about to take the field with the bigger boys.

Manziel, who in his coach's estimation had a "positive" rookie minicamp, will practice this week with the club's veteran players, including Brian Hoyer, the quarterback he'll try to unseat as the starter.

First-year coach Mike Pettine made it clear that Manziel and Hoyer realize what's at stake and that their competitive juices are already flowing.

"I don't know if they're going to be sending each other Christmas cards anytime soon," Pettine said. "But they both know they're in it together and they're going to compete. I think they both feel comfortable that, as a staff, we're going to put the best quarterback that puts us in position to win games, we're going to put him out there."

The coach spoke Monday after appearing with Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona at a Positive Coaching Alliance breakfast at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Pettine reported that Manziel, the uber-hyped former Texas A&M star, succeeded in every aspect of the three-day camp, which was open to the media for only 15 minutes Saturday as the team tries to curtail "Manziel-mania."

"It was a good start for him," Pettine said. "We weren't that concerned about the execution of plays. It was very difficult with a pieced-together offensive line and receiving corps guys who were learning the offense, too. It was a little ragged across the board when you're bringing in guys and it's new to all of them. I thought he did a good job handling himself in the huddle and making the call and the pre-snap communication, knowing where to go with the ball.

"It was a good learning process for him. I think it was a positive thing."

Pettine limited media access to local reporters and photographers. He wants to minimize distractions for his younger players, who might get caught up in the hoopla surrounding Manziel.

"We know the fire is burning; we just don't want to throw gas on it," he said.

However, the Browns do intend to provide greater access going forward, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported, including opening all of Wednesday's organized team activity session to the national media.

"We're well aware of what the league rules are and we'll open it up to the national media this week," Pettine said, according to the newspaper. "I think it's once a week is the policy. We're not going to go overboard with it. There will be a limited amount of time you can film and certain players will be available certain days. That's how we'll go moving forward."

The Browns' other two OTA sessions this week will be closed to the media, The Plain Dealer reported.

Manziel may have a larger-than-life persona and celebrity friends, but Pettine said he came across as grounded and humble around his teammates.

"They see Johnny in the locker room, and they know he's a good guy and a good teammate," Pettine said. "There's no diva-type personality there -- he's just another guy. He's funny and fun to be around, and he's going to work hard, and that's something they all respect."

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