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Joe Thomas slams TMZ’s Manziel report, compares it to ‘Onion’ article


A report published Tuesday by TMZ sent tremors throughout the NFL but more specifically the Cleveland Browns locker room. Veteran left tackle Joe Thomas thoroughly dismissed the allegations contained therein, comparing it to the kind of tongue-in-cheek satire found in a typical article from “The Onion.”

The report, in which several anonymous Browns players were quoted, alleged that offensive starters were incredulous over the fact that Josh McCown was reinserted into the starting lineup for the team’s tilt against the Oakland Raiders after a winning performance by Johnny Manziel the previous week.

Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins came forward on social media to rip the story, calling it “1000 percent made up.” Now Thomas has come forward to dispute the allegations.

“It’s funny because the first thing I [thought] about this article, it reminded me of being in college and picking up The Onion, when you’d start reading this outrageous article and wonder who made it up,” Thomas said in a radio interview, as transcribed by Pro Football Talk.

Thomas then went on to slam TMZ’s credentials as a legitimate news organization.

“[The report] couldn’t be further from the truth,” he continued. “It really belongs more in The Onion than a reputable news source, if that’s what we’re gong to call TMZ. I’d be shocked if they really found three starters who were behind those quotes.”

McCown put up an underwhelming performance in his first game back since suffering a concussion in a Week 1 showdown with the New York Jets, going 28-for-49 for 341 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in a 27-20 loss. Thomas suspects the perceived discontent with the starting quarterback position stems from losing and the current lack of a certifiable franchise quarterback.

Thomas at times has been critical of Manziel but has also come to his defense, especially in the wake of the second-year quarterback’s stint in rehab, so it’s not as if he’s biased one way or the other. It’s more a case of him trying to quiet yet another burgeoning controversy in the Browns locker room.