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Johnny Manziel named Browns starter, beginning Sunday

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The Cleveland Browns officially announced that Johnny Manziel will take over as starting quarterback beginning with Sunday’s showdown with the San Francisco 49ers.

“He’s been solid in the building over the last couple of weeks and we are hopeful he takes this opportunity to continue to build on the progress he’s made on the field throughout the season,” Browns head coach Mike Pettine said in a release, via Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Mary Kay Cabot. “The goal for every game is to go out and win, and Johnny needs to show that he can put us in position to do so during these last four weeks of the season.”

Manziel of course was previously handed the starting quarterback job earlier this season, but was ultimately demoted to third-string after footage surfaced purportedly showing him partying during the Browns’ bye week. The development came shortly after Manziel vowed not to be an embarrassment to the organization during said bye week.

Pettine hinted ahead of last Sunday’s game that Manziel could start again for the Browns this season even though he tabbed Austin Davis to play in what ended in a blowout 37-3 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

While never appearing completely sold on Manziel at any point during his two seasons with the Browns, Pettine nevertheless expressed hope that the second-year quarterback could turn things around, referring to his demotion as “absolutely necessary to maximize his chance for future success.”

It appears Manziel’s next best chance at future success begins on Sunday. Whether it will be the last chance he gets with the Browns remains to be seen. Pettine seems to believe the season’s remaining four games will be enough to get a good read on Manziel.

“We have to make sure that we support our quarterback,” he said. “Four games, that’s a quarter of a season. That’s a good chunk of time. We already have a sense of where he is from a football standpoint, that he’s done some good things and he showed progress from a year ago. That’s been encouraging. We’ll see how it plays out.”