Joe Haden: Johnny Manziel is definitely not a joke
The main goal for Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel heading into the 2015 NFL season will be to make people forget what a disaster his rookie year was. One of the ways Manziel will have to prove that is by convincing at least one teammate that he is not a “joke.”
Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden doesn’t need any convincing. A recent report from ESPN cited an anonymous Browns player who called Manziel’s first year in the NFL a “100 percent joke.” Haden disagrees.
“Johnny is definitely not a joke,” Haden told Mary Kay Cabot of Northeast Ohio Media Group on Wednesday. “It’s not true at all that Johnny’s teammates think he’s a 100% joke.”
Haden was adamant about pointing out that the “unnamed source thing” really bothers him. He said everything he has seen would indicate that Manziel’s teammates like him.
“Everybody, me, Phil Taylor loves him,” Haden said. “Travis (Benjamin) loves him. There’s a lot of players on the team that do so I don’t really know. You’d have to find that person who said that.
“Johnny takes too much bashing for nothing and the thing is that being a quarterback in the NFL is so much harder. They can’t do anything. If Johnny is to do anything that shows him having fun instead of being in the meeting room, they blow him up.”
What about that injury treatment Manziel was supposed to show up for but couldn’t manage to get to the team facility on time?
“He wasn’t supposed to be at the walk-through,” Haden explained. “He needed treatment. You’re a quarterback, you need treatment, I understand that, definitely. I’m not trying to give him a pass on that, but still, one little treatment and he didn’t have to be there. He was on IR. It was probably one of the only times he messed up.”
I’m with Haden on anonymous players bashing their teammates or coaches. If you have something that negative to say, have the courage to attach your name to it.
That said, even Manziel admitted that he needs to take his job more seriously going forward. Haden is admirable for supporting the rookie, but there’s no question Manziel has even more to prove in his sophomore season than he did after he was drafted.