6:42pm: Manziel’s latest career-altering incident was precipitated by a late-night stay at a nightclub in Columbus, Ohio, after he attended the Michigan State-Ohio State game, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports. Patrons at the club were prohibited from taking photos while Manziel was in attendance, Cabot notes.
Adding to the Browns’ serious stance on their recently promoted then-demoted quarterback: the team preferred Manziel stick around Cleveland and lay low during the team’s bye week, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). When the 22-year-old signal-caller defied their wishes and sharply deviated from their plan, the Browns felt “betrayed.”
1:52pm: It turns out that Johnny Manziel wasn’t just benched for an apparent relapse into partying. After seeing recent photos of Manziel drinking during his bye week in Texas, the Browns confronted the quarterback and he told the organization that they were old pics, according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (via PFT). Not only that, but Manziel also instructed his friends to lie if they were asked about the photos.
Manziel, of course, was demoted to No. 3 on the depth chart earlier this week with Josh McCown sliding into the starting role. Austin Davis will serve as Cleveland’s No. 2 option in Week 12, should McCown get injured or falter. Still, coach Mike Pettine insists that the team has not discussed cutting Johnny Football loose.
A primary concern about the footage that showed Manziel partying in Austin is that it comes after the QB checked himself into rehab earlier this year. However, Pettine declined to comment on whether the team would encourage Manziel to go back to rehab, pointing out that it’s a privacy issue.
A week ago, the Browns had announced that Manziel would be the team’s starting quarterback for the rest of the season, in order to evaluate how he fits into Cleveland’s plans for 2016 and beyond. That question will remain unanswered if Manziel sits on the bench down the stretch, but according to Pettine, the need to discipline Manziel was “too important,” and outweighed the need to evaluate him.