Johnny Manziel receives words of support from Mike Pettine, LeBron James
Johnny Manziel received words of encouragement and statements of support from two bigwigs on the Cleveland sports scene: Mike Pettine and LeBron James, with both saying that he is a member of their respective families, so to speak.
The Cleveland Browns head coach on Tuesday blasted an ESPN report from earlier this month that speculated 90 percent of the organization has moved on from Manziel. Pettine instead suggesting that the second-year quarterback still has a future with the Browns.
“I think he used the number 90%,” Pettine said, via Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Mary Kay Cabot. “I use that number 90% too about the accuracy of reports that are out there — of being 90% inaccurate. I don’t know where he would’ve gotten that from. He’s very much in our plans and as we said, his career with us just hit the pause button and we’ve said this before: he’s got to get himself right as a person first before we worry about Johnny the football player. I filed that (report) in the ridiculous category when it was brought to my attention.”
Browns cornerback Joe Haden also expressed support for Manziel after having a “heart-to-heart” discussion with him, per Cabot.
“I can tell there’s something different with him,” Haden said.
Support also came from outside the Browns organization this week came courtesy of LeBron James. The quarterback attended the Cavaliers’ Game 1 win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday as a guest of James and his business associates. James, who has forged a bond with Manziel, stated unequivocally that he still considers Manziel much more than just a friend.
“He’s our guest, he’s part of the family,” James said on Tuesday morning.
Manziel has received substantial — if at times reluctant — support from several of his Browns teammates since being released from his several-month stay in treatment. Most notably among them were Joe Thomas — who previously said Manziel had to earn back trust from teammates — and Donte Whitner and Karlos Dansby. Having James in his corner as well certainly won’t hurt in his efforts to get back in the good graces of the team’s fans, something he started with a public statement of apology last week.