Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine said the team did not discuss cutting quarterback Johnny Manziel after his most recent off-field incident, but that he was forced to bench Manziel because he had violated his trust, the Associated Press reports.
The Browns named Manziel the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season on Nov. 17. After the decision was announced and before Manziel left for his home state of Texas during the team’s bye week, Pettine said he instructed Manziel to be sure to behave responsibly.
That weekend, videos of Manziel partying were released, and Pettine announced the decision to demote him to third string on Tuesday.
“It’s the trust, the accountability part of it,” Pettine said Wednesday. “This is where we had an obvious shortcoming.
“This is a heavy dose of adversity. We’ll see how he handles it. We told him yesterday, this isn’t a dead end. This is a hurdle.”
Pettine said Manziel will be given the opportunity to earn his trust back, and that he expects Manziel, who signed a four-year, $8 million contract with Cleveland in 2014, to play for the Browns again.
“We all feel the same way: Disappointed but not ready to give up. Encouraged by the progress that he’s shown, especially from a football standpoint,” Pettine said. “But on the personal front, we recognize he still has a ways to go.”
- Erin Flynn