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Browns coach Mike Pettine on Johnny Manziel's weekend in Vegas: 'I'm not going to micromanage our players'

May 28, 2014 -- 3:03pm

By Tony Grossi |


Updated at 3:23 p.m.

Notes, quotes and observations from Browns OTA practice …

Weekend with Johnny: Mike Pettine said Johnny Manziel told the Browns coach of his plans to spend Memorial Weekend in Las Vegas. Pettine’s parting words: “Have fun.”

Mission accomplished.

Johnny had fun, all right, chumming with UFC fighters at an event, mingling with bikini-clad babes at poolside and spraying champagne from the stage of a club. All of it was captured in pictures Tweeted across the Internet.

When Manziel reported to work on Tuesday morning, Pettine said he told him, “Be prepared for a lot of questions.”

“I’m very surprised actually that it’s actually a story,” Manziel said with a straight face. “It was a little bit of a break for us and I just got to go enjoy it and relax.

“I’m going to live my life to the fullest and continue to be committed to this game and what I need to do here and try to earn my place in this locker room. If I want to go out and have some fun and it doesn’t hinder what my main goals in life are, then I don’t really care what anyone else has to say.”

Pettine said he has no problem with Manziel’s work ethic or anything he has done since arriving with the 22nd pick in the May 8 draft.

“He’s a young guy. He’s done everything that we’ve asked. The playbook has not been an issue for him,” Pettine said. “Internally, we have an expectation for all of our players outside of the building to act a certain way, and it’s really a non-issue. Just like everybody else, he’s a man and we’re gonna treat our guys like that until proven that they need to be treated otherwise. I’m not going to micromanage our players outside of the building.”

Left tackle Joe Thomas said: “I don’t think anybody has any issues.

“That’s who he is. You can’t expect him to be somebody he’s not. He’s a 21-year- old kid in the offseason. You can be committed seven days a week and still have fun at night. You’ve got to have some personal time no matter who you are.”

What’s Manziel been like inside the building?

“He’s done everything we’ve asked, and then some,” Pettine said. “Very much on point with his preparation. Been outstanding in the weight room. Comes out here at practice and works as hard or harder than anybody else.”

Pettine said Manziel’s extreme work ethic is not the reason, though, he appeared to receive a promotion in the second week of OTAs. Last week, Manziel lined up initially with the third team behind Brian Hoyer and Tyler Thigpen. This week, Manziel was elevated to the second team. That means when Hoyer sits out of team reps as a precaution, Manziel moves up to the first team.

Pettine said offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is simply following his off-season script and that it is “fairly random” which group Manziel ends up with.

Injury updates: First-round cornerback Justin Gilbert limped off the field early in practice and spent the rest of the day watching with his right knee wrapped in ice. Gilbert touched and stretched the knee for a while at first, but ended the day with the ice bag off. “I don’t think it’s anything serious. That was just a bag of ice,” Pettine said … Defensive end Billy Winn had ice wrapped on his left knee … Linebacker Karlos Dansby has been absent from OTAs. Pettine said that Dansby has a minor injury that he prefers to deal with “out of town.” The coach said he expected Dansby to participate in the final week of voluntary practices next week … Defensive end Ahtyba Rubin, who was away last week, was present but worked out on the stationary bike … Receiver Miles Austin has yet to participate since joining the team on May 15. Pettine said the team is being cautious with Austin because of his history of hamstring problems and he expected him to be active next week … Pettine said that he did not anticipate any injured or rehabilitating players not being able to start training camp. He did say, however, that receivers Charles Johnson and Travis Benjamin, who both are recovering from ACL surgeries, could begin camp on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list, but “it looks pretty good” that would not be the case … Receiver Nate Burleson watched practice with a cast on his left arm. He needed a surgical procedure after re-fracturing the arm broken a year ago in an OTA practice several weeks ago.

Quick hitters: Manziel hooked up with Josh Gordon on a beauty of a throw of about 30 yards to the right sideline to beat Buster Skrine … Manning the guard positions with the No. 1 unit on Wednesday were rookie Joel Bitonio (left) and John Greco (right) … Defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil called safety Donte Whitner the defense’s “enforcer.” In a 7 on 7 drill, Whitner knocked Earl Bennett to the ground defending a pass … Hoyer only participated in red zone team drills out of the pistol or shotgun formation as a precaution against someone knocking into his repaired right knee.


Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and

He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Use the hashtag #HeyTony on Twitter or email your “Hey Tony” questions to

Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi




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