Report: Manziel leaves rehab

Published 10:41 pm Saturday, April 11, 2015

CLEVELAND (AP) — Johnny Manziel has taken the first steps in his comeback.

The popular quarterback was released from a rehab facility Saturday after more than 10 weeks, a person familiar with the Browns quarterback’s situation told The Associated Press.

The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M entered the undisclosed clinic Jan. 28 for treatment of an unspecified problem. Manziel is expected to participate in Cleveland’s offseason workouts beginning April 20, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of privacy issues.

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Manziel had been allowed to leave for short periods over the past month and visited a hospital earlier in the week as part of his treatment program.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and coach Mike Pettine have publicly pledged their support of Manziel, emphasizing that his personal recovery comes ahead of football.

The team remains optimistic about Manziel, who was drafted with the No. 22 overall pick in last year’s NFL draft. Manziel spent most of his rookie season backing up Brian Hoyer before playing poorly in two starts.

Manziel’s release was first reported by ESPN.

Manziel joined the Browns with the reputation as a party boy, and he didn’t do anything to dissuade that image when he was photographed in nightclubs before he even went to training camp with Cleveland.

The Browns insisted they weren’t going to micro-manage any of their players, and throughout the season Pettine said Manziel was working hard and taking the necessary steps to become a better player.

But after his poor on-field performance — he was injured in his second start — Manziel acknowledged he should have taken his job more seriously and vowed to come back for his second season more prepared and focused.

The Browns believe Manziel can still be a dependable quarterback, and he is expected to compete for the starting job along with Josh McCown, signed as a free agent during the offseason.