Joe Haden on Johnny Manziel: ‘I could tell there’s something different with him’
Joe Haden believes he has seen a change in teammate Johnny Manziel following the quarterback’s 10-week stay in rehab.
Haden counts Manziel as one of his closest friends on the Cleveland Browns and went to bat for the QB last season. After an anonymous player ridiculed Manziel’s rookie season, Haden came to the former Heisman Trophy winner’s defense by saying he definitely is not a joke.
In comments to the media Tuesday, Haden continued to support Manziel.
“He’s one of my good friends,” Haden said of Manziel via Mary Kay Cabot of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. “We talk about real life things. I could just tell he’s motivated. When I talked to him, I could tell there’s something different with him.”
Haden said it was nice to have Manziel back and also expressed belief that his teammate has what it takes to succeed in the league.
“He has the ability,” said Haden. “He just can’t do all of those things (off the field). He shows flashes like when we were in training camp, some of the things he does, some people just can’t do. One thing he has now is he’s motivated. He really knows he has a second chance. He has an opportunity and he’s just ready to get after it. Just focus more. And (he) just knows he has to be in here a lot more often if he wants to be a professional quarterback in the league. He’s told me he realizes that and I’m happy for him.”
Perhaps the best sign that Manziel is taking things seriously is that he told Haden he was just leaving the team facility Monday three hours after the team finished workouts on the first day of practice.
Based on the minimal effort Manziel reportedly put in last season, this upcoming year is almost like him repeating his rookie season. He has a lot of ground to make up for slacking last year, so spending plenty of extra hours in the facility needs to become a regular thing for him. At least this is a good start.