A day after demoting Johnny Manziel from the starting quarterback role to No. 3 on the depth, Browns head coach Mike Pettine spoke to reporters, including Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, about the decision. Pettine’s comments today came about 24 hours after he told the media he was “very” disappointed in Manziel after video footage surfaced of the 22-year-old partying at a nightclub in Austin, Texas.
While there was plenty of speculation that this week’s decision spelled the beginning of the end of Manziel’s tenure in Cleveland, Pettine insisted that the move was “absolutely necessary to maximze his chance for future success” (Twitter link). The head coach views the demotion as a hurdle – rather than a “dead end” – for the second-year quarterback, adding that the team didn’t discuss the possibility of cutting Manziel (Twitter links).
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 today on whether the team would encourage Manziel to go back to rehab, pointing out that it’s a privacy issue (Twitter link).
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 (Twitter link).