After a disappointing rookie season during which his off-field behavior was placed under the microscope, Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has voluntarily entered rehab, reports Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (via Twitter). Brad Beckworth, a friend and advisor to Manziel and his family, confirmed today that the signal-caller had checked into a treatment facility.
“Johnny knows there are areas in which he needs to improve in order to be a better family member, friend and teammate and he thought the off-season was the right time to take this step,” Beckworth said in a statement (TwitLonger link via Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports). “On behalf of Johnny and his family, we’re asking for privacy until he rejoins the team in Cleveland.”
With Brian Hoyer eligible for free agency this winter, Manziel currently has the inside track on the Browns’ starting QB job for the 2015 season, but the club is expected to bring in some competition at the position, possibly by re-signing Hoyer. If there were concerns about Manziel’s off-field behavior within the organization, the fact that he’s being proactive about seeking help should be an encouraging sign for the Browns.
“We respect Johnny’s initiative in this decision and will fully support him throughout this process,” Browns GM Ray Farmer said in a statement of his own (TwitLonger link via Garafolo). “Our players’ health and well-being will always be of the utmost importance to the Cleveland Browns. We continually strive to create a supportive environment and provide the appropriate resources, with our foremost focus being on the individual and not just the football player. Johnny’s privacy will be respected by us during this very important period and we hope that others will do the same.”