Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine said on Monday the team does not know when quarterback Johnny Manziel will return.
Manziel entered treatment for undisclosed reasons in late January. Speaking Monday from the Cleveland Auto show, Pettine said Manziel is entering his sixth week of treatment. While the Browns have been in communication with Manziel, Pettine said they are unsure of when he will be discharged and if he will attend the team's voluntary off-season workouts next month.
"I don't want to speak on the specifics of his program. Getting him right personally comes first, then the professional part comes second," Pettine said Monday in an interview with ESPN 850 in Cleveland. "That was really the message when we talked to him. Listen, get yourself right, and the football will take care of itself."
"To me, it's a very personal, very private thing. I'll say that he's doing well. It's time to respect his privacy and let him go through what he has to go through," Pettine said. "We've touched base a handful of times and just looking forward to seeing him on the other side."
[daily_cut.nfl]Prior to entering rehab, Manziel had a difficult rookie year. Appearing in five games, he completed 18 of 35 passes for 175 yards and two interceptions. He started two games late in the season, both losses.
Cleveland, which at one time was 7-4 with a share of the AFC North lead, finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs.
Last month, the Browns signed 35-year-old quarterback Josh McCown to a three-year, $14 million deal with $6.25 million guaranteed, presumably to provide depth with Manziel's status in question and Brian Hoyer likely to sign elsewhere as a free agent. Indeed, reports indicated on Monday that Hoyer is expected to sign with the Houston Texans.
"If you talk to anybody that's been with [McCown], they just rave about the character, the football aptitude, how he makes people around him better, just being an example, professionalism, maturity," Pettine said. "That's not why we brought him here. If we wanted a mentor, that's what you bring a coach in for. For me, the guy can still play. When the circumstances are right, he's shown he can play at a high level."
- Mike Fiammetta