CLEVELAND— Johnny Manziel’s future in Cleveland may be bleak, but there appears to be hope, as well, for a return.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, when asked about the quarterback on Thursday night at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards, felt that the somewhat-strained relationship between the team and Manziel can be repaired.
That decision, however, will not be his.
“No, I think that’s a question for (Executive VP of Football Operations) Sashi (Brown) and (head coach) Hue (Jackson),” Haslam said. “They’ll make all those calls personnel-wise including quarterbacks.”
While the situation remains murky, if the Browns did move on from Manziel, Haslam felt it would be a disappointing day.
“Look, one of the reasons the Browns are in the condition they are is they’ve not drafted well. Our predecessors didn’t draft well and we didn’t draft well,” Haslam said. “Any time a number one draft pick or any high draft pick is not successful and is not a big contributor, thats’ disappointing to the organization.”
Just as Manziel’s off-the-field incidents don’t seem to be changing any time soon— as he’s been the subject of more party-based videos this offseason—the thoughts of Haslam on the quarterback aren’t different than they were when Cleveland’s season ended on January 3 at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“I think we made clear, I don’t have any different feelings than we had on Sunday January 3rd,” Haslam said. “I think Johnny made progress on the field last year. I think that’s undeniable. We have a certain expectation for our players and that includes Johnny and he’s got to live up to those expectations.”
As for the fact that Manziel hasn’t been approached by Jackson just yet, Haslam felt that the lack of communication between the two isn’t necessarily a sign that the quarterback isn’t part of the future plans.
“We talked to Johnny before he left,” Haslam said. “I know a big deal was made that hue hasn’t called Johnny yet. well, we’ve got 53 players on the active and 10 more and there were a couple of other real prominent players that he just talked to in the last day or two, so I’m sure he’ll get around to talking to him.”
The talk of Manziel dominated the discussion on Thursday night, but he wasn’t the only Browns players with off-the-field issues brought up.
It was recently reported and announced that Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who was suspended for the 2015 season after failure to comply with the NFL’s substance abuse policy, applied for reinstatement into the league.
While the league won’t officially announce their decision for at least a little while, Haslam said he has no indication as to whether or not Gordon will be able to play next season.
The lack of knowledge on the situation is exactly why Haslam won’t commit to Gordon being a part of the team for the 2016 season.
“We do not know if Josh is going to be reinstated or not,” Haslam said. “Obviously, saw where he reapplied for reinstatement. We’ll leave that up to the NFL and if he’s reinstated we’ll deal with that at the proper time.”
For all of your Browns news and updates from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove.