At first glance, a headline of “Browns didn’t interview Johnny Manziel at NFL Combine” figures to draw the ire of Cleveland fans. The team needs a franchise quarterback, and Manziel projects to be a top-5 selection (The Browns own the No. 4 and No. 26 picks).
“We didn’t speak to him at the combine,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said Monday at the Cleveland Auto Show, per Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I didn’t personally. He was not part of the formal interviews.”
However, as Cabot points out, the Browns still have ample time to bring Manziel in for an individual workout and interview, as well as the Texas A&M pro day on March 5.
It’s possible — and likely — that the Browns used their allotment of 60 combine interviews to speak with players whom they don’t plan on bringing in for private meetings.
More from the Browns and Cabot…
- Center Alex Mack becomes the highest-paid center in the NFL with the application of the transition tag today, notes Cabot, in line to earn at least $10.039MM guaranteed in 2014 if not signed to an offer sheet.
- Pettine doesn’t look at the transition tag as a one-year deal, but as a way to sign Mack long-term. “We felt that that was the best avenue for us to go,” Pettine said. “He’s an outstanding player. We want him to be a Cleveland Brown for a long time. The [transition tag] will allow us the opportunity to potentially do that.”
- Since NFL rules dictate that each team can only tag one player per offseason, strong safety T.J. Ward did not receive a franchise or transition tag. “I wouldn’t read into it,” Pettine said. “It only eliminates the ability to have tagged him. He’s an outstanding player and he’s a Cleveland Brown and we’ll make the decision for what’s best for him moving forward.”