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Johnny Manziel on not being named starter: ‘Maybe next time the answer will be yes’

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Even though Johnny Manziel injected some electricity and life into the Cleveland Browns’ offense in relief of a struggling Brian Hoyer during last Sunday’s 26-10 loss to Buffalo Bills, the team nevertheless decided to start incumbent starting quarterback Brian Hoyer in its next game against the Indianapolis Colts.

The decision, announced by head coach Mike Pettine on Wednesday, reportedly also involved input from offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains as well as general manager Ray Farmer. Pettine characterized the decision to stay with Hoyer “a difficult one.”

Manziel reacted to the news of his return to the bench Wednesday while speaking to reporters in the locker room. While disappointed, the rookie quarterback’s comments indicated that he intends to remain focused, work hard and make the next time a decision has to be made by the Browns regarding which quarterback to start that much more difficult.

“Obviously, that’s a decision that’s made by coach Pettine and this week his answer was, ‘no,”’ said Manziel, per Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. “Moving forward, whatever transpires, maybe next time the answer will be, ‘yes.”’

Manziel said that Pettine’s comments earlier in the week indicating some uncertainty on how to proceed with the quarterback position did not give him any false hope that he would be named starter.

“No, I didn’t’ have a feeling either way,” he said. “I felt like I came out and did what I was supposed to do and be prepared and come into the game and be on the field and be competitive. That’s what I wanted to do and I want to show through practice even after this that my mood hasn’t changed and I’m not taking this lightly.”

Pettine reportedly informed both Hoyer and Manziel in separate meetings Wednesday before revealing the decision to the media.

Manziel, who led the Browns on an 80-yard drive capped by a 10-yard touchdown scamper, said he relished the opportunity to get on the field and see some real-live NFL action at quarterback, as his appearances thus far this season have been limited in scope and lacked the chance to get into a rhythm.

“You know, it was fun,” he said. “You come off the field last Sunday and you have kind of a new sense. It was my first snaps really in an NFL game, kind of getting the offense handed to me for those few drives and getting a chance to score my first touchdown in the NFL and that’s a big deal for anyone coming into the league.”

Manziel expressed hope that his hard work practice, off-the-field preparation and any chance he gets to play will one day lead him to taking over the starting quarterback position permanently, and that next time, it won’t be so easy for Pettine to make the decision to sit him back on the bench.

“Hopefully, it was tough on them,” Manziel said. “Obviously, he’s a head coach, he’s able to handle situations like that so hopefully I did make it hard on them and hopefully those guys see that when I come in here I’m very serious about this game and very serious about this team and more than anything, I want to win and that was a big disappointment obviously from Sunday and moving forward. But whatever and whoever puts us in the best position to win week after week, I trust coach Pettine with the decision and that’s all anybody in this locker room wants.”

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