The following is a piece I wrote for Sidelines regarding the Cleveland Browns and Johnny Manziel. I thought I would take a moment and share it here… Happy Reading!! ~Hegedus
#Cleveland #Browns #NFL #JohnnyFootball #Manziel
I bleed Cleveland… You don’t know me, and that’s fine. Cleveland has been my home since I took my first breath in Parma Hospital in 1978. I love her beauty and more importantly I love and forgive her flaws. My city gets kicked a lot, picked on, ridiculed. But she keeps going, she gets back up, she keeps fighting another round. I have no intention of leaving here, and I will defend this city against any comers. There is a pride that comes from being from Cleveland. It is a toughness, an attitude, a mentality; and if you are not from here you just will never understand or “get it”. Nor would we ever expect or want you to.
Why do I want Johnny Manziel to succeed? I’ll answer that directly right away. I want him to succeed because I want my Browns to be right for a change. I want them to draft a QB and commit to embracing and developing him. I want him to have the chance to grow, mature, and to learn from his mistakes. I don’t want to make this a post about the Browns blunders as an organization. That would take too long to type out. The Browns were a proud organization, a respected organization around the NFL before Art Modell stripped Cleveland of its most beloved franchise.
Since the team’s rebirth in 1999, the Browns have had 8 head coaches and used 20 different starting quarterbacks. Browns fans have been waiting for so long for someone to step up and take the reigns of this football team. The main problem is everyone wants the next Bernie Kosar right NOW!! You listen to sports talk radio and you hear what to me is the funniest contradiction. So many fans cry and plead for stability in the organization from top to bottom, yet from game to game will want to make changes everywhere. This is a fan base that has run out of patience, but in the end great franchise QBs are not made in 3 or 5 games or a single season.
Johnny Football… Obviously I like the kid, I’m glad he fell to us in the draft. I love his swagger, his cockiness, his blind and dumb confidence on a football field. I’m not going to try and talk about arm strength, size, or reading defenses. With apologizes to Jon Gruden, I don’t care what Johnny thinks of running an “86 Hitch Banana Red Charlie Hot Route”. I simply want the team to take a moment and say “We drafted this guy and we are gonna stick to our guns: lets develop him, lets let him learn, lets teach him how to be better”.
Off the field issues? I could care less. Dude is in rehab, and I feel that may be a bit of a PR move for him. That is what you do nowadays. I’m no doctor nor do I know him personally. Is it a good thing he went to try and curtail his drinking and partying? Yes. Do I blame him for having an ego and going to excess at times? No. He is a 22-year-old millionaire that has been glorified by the modern sports cycle of fame. Hell, I should have gone to rehab at 22 for my drinking and I was just out of college making 28K a year.
Parental Moment here: If you saw how much booze your child was consuming during their college experience, you’d be getting a third mortgage to try and send your kid to the best treatment center you could. It is what it is. And notice I’m not even talking about drug use here. If your child is in a fraternity or sorority, add molly and snorting prescription pills to the alcohol consumption. Don’t blame me, you are the one who raised them and allowed them to buy their friends.
My point is if you could be a young, good looking, wealthy, and a tremendously gifted athlete you bet your Nike endorsement you’d be at a party and pound some champagne on a giant inflatable swan. Let the kid mature. Let him learn from his mistakes. I’m sure every decision you made at 22 wasn’t sterling either. Let’s see what kind of motivation and fire he comes back with now that the writing is on the wall. He has one season under his belt, a baptism by fire if you will. He should have a lot better grasp of what is in front of him and if he has the passion to want to be a success in the NFL he will go forth and be one.
I’d like the Browns to commit to Manziel for two more years. Then evaluate his progress. The Browns have started over so many times, panicked and bent to the whim of this opinion or that one. Since 1999 is seems the team has constantly found themselves or let the media and outside chatter create a QB controversy. Would you like going to work everyday having someone over your shoulder micro-managing you and ready to yank you at any given moment?
And what are the alternatives? C’mon we have played that game before!! You want a veteran? I’ve lived through recycling Jeff Garcia, Trent Dilfer, and Jake Delhomme. Get a backup to win the job? Kelly Holcomb, Seneca Wallace, Jason Campbell, Derek Anderson. Get someone through the Draft? Brandon Weeden, Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy. And I just want to type Spergon Wynn… It’s all been tried already. The only thing that hasn’t been tried is sticking to someone and letting him grow. We threw Tim Couch to the wolves and it destroyed him.
I want true stability. I want the team to have an overall plan and strategy and stick to it. And I want Johnny Manziel to be a success. Why anyone would root for him to crash and burn while he wears your team’s colors I just don’t get. Plus, the NFL already has one Ryan Leaf, we don’t need another…