Pettine expects Manziel at practices next month

Published 1:11 am Wednesday, March 25, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) — Browns coach Mike Pettine expects quarterback Johnny Manziel to take part in the team’s practices next month after leaving rehab.

Pettine said the team has received “good” feedback about Manziel, who entered a treatment facility on Jan. 28 for an undisclosed problem. A first-round draft pick in 2014, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M backed up Brian Hoyer before playing poorly in two starts. Following the season, Manziel acknowledged he should have taken his job more seriously.

Pettine does not know when Manziel will be discharged from rehab, but he expects the young QB to return to football immediately. The Browns will work out on April 20.

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“When he is back, it will be full speed ahead for him,” Pettine said. “I think he’s very anxious at this point.”

Pettine emphasized Manziel’s personal issues outweigh anything related to his profession.

“Football, it’s a back seat,” Pettine said. “For his football life to get it where it needs to be, he needs to get the personal life where it needs to be. … This takes precedence, so however long of time he needs, the football will be there when he gets out.”

While at the owners’ meetings, the Browns have had discussions with HBO about being featured on “Hard Knocks,” the cable network’s popular reality series that gives viewers and inside look at an NFL team during training camp. Pettine knows all about “Hard Knocks” from when he was an assistant coach with the New York Jets.

Pettine said Manziel’s situation is a factor in the Browns’ hesitancy to be on the program.

“When we decided not to volunteer for ‘Hard Knocks,’ we discussed everything that was involved with it. That (Manziel) was certainly something we needed to consider. I wouldn’t say (Manziel) loomed large. You just weigh everything in. Because being a part of ‘Hard Knocks,’ knowing they’re going to look to cover the team’s biggest, current story lines — it’s obvious that he would be a point of attention.”

From his experience, “Hard Knocks” can be an unnecessary diversion for players and coaches.

“It’s hard to be yourself. I know (Arizona Cardinals coach) Bruce Arians spoke to it a year ago. If you have to change, if you have to be different, then it’s a distraction. If you’re not thinking about your job and you’re thinking about something else, for even an instant, then it’s a distraction.

“I saw that as a negative, when guys are different, guys that can’t handle, they act different, play to the camera. I see that as a potential negative. And the positives are maybe the same thing. Guys know there’s a camera around and something they do can wind up on the show.”