Browns Slap Gift Horse In The Mouth
Johnny “Football” Manziel is a budding superstar who already is an NCAA legend with considerations of Texas A&M naming their Stadium after him. Leaving College Station after his sophomore year, the Heisman trophy winner was the biggest combination of football talent and personality available to NFL Teams, this was verified by being drafted in the first round. The Cleveland Browns gave many of us what we wanted by using the 22nd pick on a young man who has the potential to fill a much needed void of superstar while simultaneously turning the team into a winner.
What confounds me is why they choose to start mismanaging the situation only one week later. Johnny has yet to throw a pass at the practice facility, but there have been more statements issued about him from his franchise. Which claims it wants to treat him “like any other rookie” GM Ray Farmer. At a Hall of Fame luncheon another Johnny reference was uttered “this is not Hollywood he needs to act like a backup quarterback” Owner Jimmy Haslam. Next the Browns public relations department ruffled feathers of the media by limiting access to rookie mini camp.
I don’t mention these quotes just to point out hypocrisy, sadly there’s something more here, the gestation of confusion that could lead to a real distraction. Instead of embracing the gift horse of popularity brought by the 22nd pick, Browns and Haslem are creating a problem. Maybe its frustrating because you hear reports of Browns management having meetings trying to develop new policies surrounding media access to just one player. Browns made a draft day decision to take Johnny in late first round as we predicted on Show #1.5, but had no plan to handle media circus that surrounds a budding superstar. Kyle Shanahan is carrying baggage from RG3 experience, this is evident by trying to steer Farmer into negotiations of trade for Kirk Cousins.
One of the biggest conundrums for older Browns fans with families is how do we get their children to root for their favorite team? Solution is the promotion of Johhny Football. The Front Office should have been ready with a full public relations campaign that utilizes Johnny to cultivate a new generation of Browns fans. I would have invited every reporter to travel with him from mini camp to personal appearances at Children’s Hospitals and community events, always flanked by the other rookies of his draft class.
Browns have time to correct dangerous direction of Manziel situation, also I believe Johhny has been in a tougher media environment pre/post Heisman Trophy Win. Now he has a billion dollar operation that should maximize his potential as a brand, player, and superstar. Folks working in Berea need to reap the whirlwind that is Johnny Football, and redirect it to success for the city, team and its #RealFans.
As Always Go Browns!