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Joe Thomas: Johnny Manziel needs to regain trust of Browns teammates

Johnny Manziel

After 10 weeks, reports indicate that Johnny Manziel is expected to be released soon from an undisclosed Ohio treatment facility, perhaps as soon as sometime this week. While an encouraging development, comments from Joe Thomas indicates Manziel nevertheless has a lot of work left to do to regain the trust of his teammates when he arrives for offseason workouts on April 20.

“I think he’s going to have to prove to the team that football is important and being the man, being the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, is important, it is his goal, his single goal in his life,” the veteran Browns tackle said, via an ESPN Cleveland report.

“You know, I think he lost probably a lot of trust among the guys on the team last year by the way he handled himself once he became the starter. And I think he had a lot of time to reflect, I’m guessing, after the season was over by the comments he made in the media and by his actions, checking himself into rehab … I think those were really positive steps.”

Thomas added that how the quarterback conducts himself upon his return will be more important than what he says.

Thomas’ comments somewhat echo what new Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said in March when indicating he wants Manziel “obsessed with football” upon his return.

It’s becoming abundantly clear that Manziel faces a huge challenge to get back into the good graces of the Browns organization. And Thomas’ candid comments aren’t the first time one of the quarterback’s teammates has criticized the young player, although the last teammate to do so did so anonymously.

On the other hand, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam came out and showed unwavering support for Manziel shortly after he entered rehab, despite all the off-the-field distractions and an uneven-to-poor showing on the field in his rookie season.

Recent reports indicate, though, that 90% of the Browns already have moved on from Manziel. No matter how the situation plays out when Manziel returns to the team, to say that his first year in the NFL has been an unmitigated disaster would be an understatement.

While his imminent discharge from treatment the undisclosed chemical dependency issues arguably indicates that the Browns quarterback put forth a concerted effort to straighten things out in his personal life, much work apparently remains.