(Reuters) – Johnny Manziel’s short-lived reign as starting quarterback for the Browns does not signal the end of his career in Cleveland but rather an obstacle for him to overcome, coach Mike Pettine said on Wednesday.
Manziel, known by the moniker “Johnny Football” from his standout collegiate years at Texas A&M, was demoted by the National Football League club on Tuesday, one day after a partying video of him hit social media sites.
The 22-year-old had been named the Browns’ starter for the rest of the season after throwing for 372 yards in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 15, but has since been replaced by veteran quarterback Josh McCown.
“I certainly hope not,” Pettine told a news conference when asked if Manziel had played his last game for the Browns.
“He’s made great progress and there’s no better proof than last Sunday at Pittsburgh. But sometimes you have to take a step back to take a few forward.
“We told him yesterday, this is not a dead end. It’s a hurdle. It’s an obstacle. Part of success in athletics is dealing with adversity, and this will be an example of it.”
Tuesday’s sudden demotion was decided after a series of photos and videos surfaced the previous day of Manziel allegedly partying last weekend in Texas during the team’s bye week.
Manziel’s erratic off-field behaviour has been an issue with the Browns (2-8) since he was selected in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft.
He spent 10 weeks in a treatment facility during the offseason for undisclosed reasons and last month was questioned by police after witnesses reported him driving dangerously and getting physical in an altercation with girlfriend.
Manziel was cleared of any wrongdoing in the incident.
“The position of quarterback is always going to be held to a higher standard than any other position on the team, that’s the reality,” said Pettine. “It’s not just about talent, it’s not just about what you do on the field.
“To be successful at the position requires a great understanding of what’s involved in the non-physical aspects: the leadership, the trust, the accountability, the responsibility, the diligence.
“When you have a great opportunity in front of you, it’s important you demonstrate you can handle the responsibility that comes with it … this is where we had an obvious shortcoming.”
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Steve Ginsburg)