It appears we were this close to seeing Johnny Manziel in primetime television. But alas, it wasn't meant to be, as the Cleveland Browns have declined an opportunity to participate on the popular HBO sports documentary series, Hard Knocks.
HBO reportedly asked the Browns if they were interested in filming prior to their selection of Manziel in the 2014 NFL draft, so the request wasn't all about the new Cleveland quarterback, though it's possible the network might have been attempting to launch a preemptive strike given how many believed Manziel would end up with the Browns.
Regardless, their efforts were denied by head coach Mike Pettine.
"It was for the same reason we didn't feel super comfortable having a camera in the draft room," Pettine said of the team's reasoning, per Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Let's get through the first time, let's get through the first year."
Pettine, who was a member of the New York Jets when they participated on the show during their 2010 training camp, wasn't opposed to the idea completely, suggesting it might be something the franchise does in the future.
"There are positives and negatives to doing it," said Pettine. "It's not something I would say we'd never do, partly because the league can make us do it." Given Pettine's first-year head coaching status, the Browns were allowed to reject HBO's offer but the Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams and New York Giants all lack such an ability and could find themselves behind the cameras this season, per NFL rules regarding the show.