By Drew Zuhosky
On Jan. 13, the Hue Jackson era began in Cleveland, when the Browns hired him as the team’s head coach, making him the ninth head coach since NFL football returned to Northeast Ohio in 1999.
Jackson intends to make changes right from the get-go. For one, the team won’t employ an offensive coordinator, as he’ll handle those duties himself. Prior to coming to Cleveland, Jackson was most recently the offensive coordinator for the Browns’ AFC North Division rival the Cincinnati Bengals.
Perhaps a bigger change that Jackson will make has to do with who Cleveland’s next quarterback might be. The buzz is that Jackson’s version of the Browns will not have Johnny Manziel under center in the 2016 season.
Manziel generated plenty of excitement during his two seasons as a college quarterback for the Texas A&M Aggies passing for over 7,800 yards and 64 touchdowns over the 2012 and 2013 college football seasons.
His play won him the 2012 Heisman Memorial Trophy, in a year where he was also a consensus All-American selection. After the 2013 season, Manziel, then a redshirt sophomore, was declared for the 2014 NFL Draft, where he was ultimately chosen by the Browns in the 22nd overall selection.
At the time, all of Cleveland was ecstatic. They thought Manziel would lead the Browns to a championship at long last.
Unfortunately for Browns fans, Manziel’s play hasn’t translated well to the pro ranks. His behavior has also been an issue.
Too often, Manziel has exhibited immaturity when not playing football. Case in point: back in November, during Cleveland’s bye week, a video which showed Manziel partying in Texas made the rounds online.
Because of Manziel’s actions in the video, now-former Browns head coach Mike Pettine chose to strip Manziel of his starting quarterback duties, and instead give those responsibilities to Josh McCown for a game versus the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football on Nov. 30.
More recently, on Jan. 2 Manziel, who had already been announced as out for the next afternoon’s game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers with a concussion, went to Las Vegas sporting a wig, phony mustache and glasses.
Manziel was supposed to be in Cleveland the next day to undergo concussion tests. Instead, he decided to act immaturely again.
If Manziel had a normal job, he would have gotten fired by now. This is a guy who was given an opportunity that few people have. However, because of his actions, that chance could very well be gone.
When you work for any company, firm, boss or individual, you are expected to follow company rules and regulations. You are responsible for your own actions. You’re expected to act maturely and appropriately as well. Manziel has not done any of this as a member of the Cleveland Browns.
If Jackson does elect to sever ties with Manziel, fans will be grateful for the change. The big question now is “where does Manziel go from here?”
An even bigger question is “does anyone even want to take a chance on Manziel?” Given the behavior he’s exhibited and the trouble he’s been in over the past few years, it remains to be seen if he’ll be given another chance at playing pro football.
Manziel shouldn’t be retained by the Browns. He’s not exhibited the proper behavior needed to be a NFL quarterback. If I was Manziel and I wanted to play football again, I would call my realtor and enquire about houses in Canada. The CFL is really Manziel’s best possible avenue, should he decide to go there.