Johnny Manziel says the party’s over.
The quarterback apologized to his Browns teammates Monday for a season of distractions and vowed to change.READ MORE: Sugar Bowl Matches No. 6 Baylor Against No. 8 Mississippi
Manziel was fined over the weekend by the team after he missed a medical treatment for a hamstring injury. Manziel said he overslept but denied a threw a party Friday night that also caused star wide receiver Josh Gordon to miss a team walk-through and draw a suspension for the season finale in Baltimore.
Just last week, Manziel, who made two starts after replacing Brian Hoyer, promised a new approach.
Johnny Football said he means it this time.
“It’s about actions,” he said. “It’s about being accountable and doing what I’m going to say instead of looking like a jackass.”
Manziel said friends from Kerrville, Texas, stayed with him last week. The 22-year-old rookie shot down reports he threw a party at his downtown apartment that was attended by teammates. Manziel said he let his “guard down a little bit” and went out Friday night. When he was late for his treatment Saturday, the Browns sent security personnel to his home.
“It was a mistake by me,” he said. “At the same time, you can sit here and say and talk and say this all you want, but when your actions don’t reflect that, and you make a conscious decision to put yourself in the position that you stay out too late and not wake up the next morning, that’s going to cause a lot of trouble, so I did that to myself. I brought this on myself.
Manziel acknowledges he’s responsible for much of the media commotion surrounding the team.
“I don’t think it’s fair to anybody in this locker room the distractions I’ve brought at points in time,” he said. “So I’m sorry to these guys that are veterans in this locker room and know what it takes, that I’m having to learn the hard way.”
He added, tellingly, that he better do that, or there will be consequences.
“I’m either going to learn or I’m going to be finding something else to do,” he said.
The Browns drafted Manziel in the first round with the hope he would develop into their future quarterback. But his offseason behavior raised immediate questions about his commitment, and when Manziel was on the field he looked overwhelmed and unprepared.
Coach Mike Pettine said he has spoken with Manziel and is optimistic the former Heisman Trophy winner can get his act together.READ MORE: Sen. Ted Cruz Reacts To News Of Former Sen. Bob Dole's Passing
“He realizes that at some point talk is cheap,” Pettine said.
With Manziel’s issues and Hoyer’s impending free agency, the Browns enter the offseason with as many questions about the quarterback situation as ever.
“It’s very much a question mark,” Pettine said. “It’s muddy, at best.”
Manziel hopes he can be the answer. First, though, he has to take things more seriously.
“I think I’ve been a work in progress throughout this year,” he said. “There have been a lot of ups and downs. There have been some good things and bad things. But I’m still an extremely competitive person and know what I want to do in my life. I know what is important to me and now it is time to come in here, look myself in the mirror and hold myself accountable and start making some deals with myself.”
Manziel understands he hasn’t been fair to Browns fans, but mostly he’s cheated himself.
“I’m upset with how I have handled things at times,” he said. “I did grow up and then I took a step back. It is the same story with me. We’re taking one step forward and then two steps back. Now it is really in my court.”
And that means a good hard look in the mirror.
“Do I want to be known as a guy who has been in this league two years and now doing something different with his life,” he said. “Or come in here, give this thing a fair chance and … be the quarterback and person I know I am.”
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