Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel offered a bit of an apology to his coaches and teammates for partying hard and acting unprofessional over the offseason, according to a July 26 report from ESPN. Manziel, 21, told the Cleveland media he wishes he could go back and do things differently since getting drafted by the Browns earlier this year, after word got out that Browns higher-ups were alarmed by his off-the-field behavior.
Why are first-year coach Mike Pettine and Browns owner Jimmy Haslam so concerned about Manziel's antics? The rookie was spotted living it up in nightclubs from coast to coast this offseason, rolling bills in a Las Vegas bathroom and bartending in Texas. Tightly-rolled bills are often used for snorting cocaine, so the photo of Manziel rolling up a $20 in a bathroom was highly alarming for Cleveland brass.
Manziel did not actually do drugs of all kind, but Browns officials were so upset by the photo that they let the media know such behavior would not be tolerated. There were plenty of other incidents involving Manziel, that raised eyebrows in Cleveland. In May, TMZ reported that Manziel got the party going at Surrender nightclub at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, enjoying Belvadere vodka drinks and champagne with a large party of men and women. He was spotted at several other nightclubs over the offseason, dancing the night away with beers in hand.
Should Manziel apologize for his hard partying over the offseason? That's a tricky question to answer, but the main reason why he had every right to go out and enjoy himself is the fact that he was partying months before the season was to get started. Did he break any laws? No. Did he miss any practice time? No. Did he alienate his teammates? No. Here's the thing: Most professional athletes enjoy their free time by partying at nightclubs, but they just aren't photographed as much as Manziel. Since Manziel gets more media attention than most, it just appears as though he parties far more than others.
For his part, and to his credit, the former Aggie has simmered down over the past month. Manziel may have been getting drunk and going wild earlier this summer, but his hard partying has cooled down now that training camp has begun. With Browns training camp in full swing, Johnny Football has declared a willingness to mature, learn the league and earn the respect of his teammates.
There is a whole lot of pressure that goes with being a first-round pick, especially one who helped the Browns sell 2,000 season tickets in the first week of him being on the team. The former Texas A&M superstar is going to need a little time to learn how to act as a professional, but he deserves props for taking the time to hear out his coaches and embrace their concerns about his behavior. He is slowly making adjustments to make sure he doesn't run himself out of town before the season even starts.
Manziel seems to know full well when the wild partying isn't appropriate, so that should be all that matters. As long as he isn't enjoying the nightlife during the Browns' training camp and regular season, there's nothing wrong with his off-the-field antics.