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Johnny Manziel Validates Pettine With Immature Behavior

(Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

If Johnny Manziel ever gets a real chance to be the Cleveland Browns quarterback, rest assured it will not be under Mike Pettine.

The Browns current head coach doesn’t trust the second-year quarterback and once the bond between signal caller and mentor is breached, it’s a tough one to repair.

Manziel tried to do exactly that in the offseason by taking ownership of his disastrous rookie campaign and attempting to rectify his now trademarked behavioral issues by undertaking a 10-week rehab stint centered around his use of alcohol, something two different NFL sources confirmed to FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com earlier this year.

Maybe a player who didn’t have that resume could get away with what happened earlier this week, but when that first year ends with a 12-step process, having a couple drinks and then getting behind the wheel of a car while arguing with your girlfriend is not exactly a good look.

So if Josh McCown’s franchise record 457 passing yards in Cleveland’s 33-30 overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday didn’t justify Pettine’s decision to choose the journeyman over Manziel, the second-year pro’s behavior certainly did.

The embattled former Heisman Trophy winner undid an offseason of reputation enhancement when several witnesses notified police after seeing Manziel and his significant other, TCU student Colleen Crowley, arguing in a vehicle on Monday. The misunderstanding reached a fever pitch when she tried to leave the car as it exited the highway.

There is really no gray area here as both Manziel and Crowley admitted the incident occurred with the young quarterback claiming he has been drinking earlier in the day but not to the point of legal impairment, as the officer on the scene made the determination that the Texas A&M product was not intoxicated.

The one aspect which could catch the NFL’s eye in today’s ultra-sensitive environment is the fact that Crowley told police that “Manziel pushed her head against the glass of the car,” although she also claimed she was not fearful of Manziel and did not think he would cause her harm.

Police did notice Crowley had a mark on her wrist but the authorities attributed that to Manziel trying to keep Crowley in the car.

Crowley in turn didn’t want to press charges and because Manziel wasn’t intoxicated, no arrests were made.

Manziel himself tweeted his own explanation of the incident Friday night.

Now a normal 22-year-old having a few drinks and arguing with his girlfriend is certainly not news, but when you factor in that Manziel has already admitted to the organization that he needed help, it’s a whole different ball game.

And a quick look at any of the published material centered on alcohol rehabilitation is never going to say having a few drinks and hopping behind the wheel is acceptable behavior.

“We were aware of the situation,” Browns GM Ray Farmer said in a statement. “It is a matter that we take seriously and have expressed our concerns to Johnny directly. Those conversations will remain private and we will refrain from further comment at this time.”

Farmer is likely Manziel’s only ally in Cleveland’s hierarchy right now and that stems from selfishness not belief in the player. Farmer, like any other NFL personnel man, needs his high draft picks to succeed or he’s out of a job.

Pettine on the other hand is just trying to win on Sunday against the Denver Broncos, so Manziel’s not even in his purview.

The Browns have already said Manziel’s status against Denver will not change and he will be McCown’s backup. Meanwhile, the NFL will surely review the incident but it’s hard to imagine any discipline coming from the league’s end because there are no legal entanglements.

In Pettine’s mind, however, this may just more ammunition to move away from Manziel, a player he believes is not ready to lead an NFL team.

“I didn’t get caught up in the external debate about (the QB controversy),” the coach said earlier this week before news of the latest Manziel incident broke. “It was a decision that we thought was best for our football team and the way Josh has played — and the guys have played around him — certainly looks to have validated it.”

You can now take any skepticism of Pettine’s belief off the table because Manziel himself has not only validated the decision, he certified it and got in notarized with the stamp of immaturity.

— John McMullen is the national football columnist for FanRagSports.com. You can reach him at jmcmullen@phanaticmag.com or on Twitter @jfmcmullen — Also catch John this season on ESPN Southwest Florida every Monday at 3 PM ET; on ESPN Lexington every Thursday at 6:05 ET, and live every Tuesday from 2 to 6 PM ET at the Golden Nugget Casino in Atlantic City for the NFL Wraparound on ESPN South Jersey.

Also check @JFMcMullen on Twitter for John’s upcoming appearances on YAHOO! Sports Radio, FOX Sports Radio, YAHOO! Sports Radio Indiana, Omaha’s The Zone, Mobile’s WNSP, Baltimore’s 105.7 The Fan, 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, The Score 1260 in Syracuse, Sirius’ Mad Dog Sports Radio, ESPN 1530 in Cincinnati, 700WLW in Cincinnati, TSN 1290 in Winnipeg, TSN 690 in Montreal and WNSR in Nashville.

 





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