Banning national sports journalists from their rookie camp, the Browns have given liftoff to the latest in a series of quarterback controversies that have jinxed the franchise for half a century.
After learning of the ban, the New York Post's Brad Hubbuch tweeted that "the Browns PR director told me: We don't want this to be a Tebow situation. It's not going to be Johnny Football Mania out there."
After watching his value drop to the 22nd pick in the NFL draft Johnny Franchise might want to brush up on the Browns haunted history now that he's part of it.
December 27, 1964 remains embedded in the minds of Browns fans (including this native Clevelander) as the last time the franchise won an NFL championship. Team owner Art Modell had the largess to increase the starting salary of his quarterback Frank Ryan, who threw for three touchdowns in the win, to $18,000 a year.
Now, with Manziel in a Browns uniform, the NFL Insiders, sportswriters who operates in close cooperation with the league, will be challenged to spin or discredit national and local reporting that that throws sunshine on the Heisman winner, who hails from a wealthy and controversial East Texas oil family.
Browns fans want Johnny Franchise to start now. Some even think he's Johnny Dynasty. But they wanted Mike Phipps to start now. Tim Couch too.
Ironically, Brandon Weeden was the 22nd pick in the 2012 NFL draft. An omen? In Brownstown it goes from the ridiculous to the sublime.
In an effort to keep on top of Manziel Mania new team owner Jimmy Haslam told fans and media that veteran local favorite Brian Hoyer is his starter.
Manziel's scripted, cult of the quarterback personality has made him a marketing machine even before taking a snap in a NFL game.
With Manziel's game jersey already the top selling NFL licensed jersey it's going to be tough for Haslam to keep him off the field. At the same time a lot of hard hitting defensive players see Manziel's number and think Johnny Cart-off.
Haslam's truck stop empire is worth around $33 billion, dwarfing the billion dollars he has invested in the Browns. Hoyer is 28. Manziel just 21. Is Haslam calling the shots as an absentee owner? Or is it general manager Ray Farmer? Only the Insiders know for sure.
The best way to avoid a controversy would be to start Hoyer over center and put Manziel on the field as a "slash," a combination wideout and quarterback. It's a good fit with the rollout game that offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan developed for RG3 before Washington Redskins owner Donald Snyder fired him and his father last December.
With his mobility and reputation as a risk taker Manziel brings back memories of another undersized Heisman winner, Nebraska quarterback, Eric Crouch.
Crouch fell to the 3rd round of the 2002 NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams. Coach Mike Martz wanted to use him as a wide receiver but he got banged up and didn't take to the idea.
Crouch cycled out of the NFL and bounced around the CFL and arena football for years. At age 35 he still considers himself a free agent, regretting he didn't take to the Rams suggestion.
Where will Manziel be at age 35? Do the Browns have a Johnny Slash in their future?
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