Jump for joy, Johnny Manziel apologists. Based on comments from Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, there might be a chance the team holds onto their troubled (or at least always in trouble) quarterback.
Speaking to reporters last night at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards, Haslam was asked if the relationship between the Browns and Manziel is fixable. The last time he was asked about his QB, it was after he had just fired yet another regime and had to also answer questions regarding an alleged trip to Vegas. On that night, when asked about Manziel’s future with the team, he simply said, “We do have the second pick in the draft.”
However, last night he appeared to take a different tone. Upon being asked if the relationship between Cleveland and Manziel could be fixed, Haslam stated, “I don’t think there’s any question about that.”
Clearly this means the Browns haven’t yet washed their hands of their most divisive player, right? If Haslam thinks this relationship is fixable, that the bridge Manziel torches on what seems like a weekly basis can actually be repaired, is it safe to assume he could actually be back with the team next year?
I’d pump the brakes on that assumption. Even with this sudden glimmer of hope, it’s tough to believe Haslam actually has any intentions of keeping Manziel on the roster next year.
Obviously saying there’s a chance Manziel could improve his relationship with the team implies he’ll get the opportunity to do so. It also easily marks the most positive comment made about him since season’s end.
Despite this, there’s still a minuscule chance Manziel actually gets to try and fix the damage done.
Remember, new coach Hue Jackson still hasn’t made a single comment which would imply the rumors about his wanting to cut ties with Manziel weren’t true. Whenever he’s asked about the QB, his answers have been either non-committal or sound completely uninterested in the idea of keeping him.
On top of this, what could Manziel have done in the past few weeks which would honestly make Haslam or Jackson reconsider keeping him around? Was it his not reaching out to the new coach? Was it yet another video surfacing of him drinking and partying the night away? Or was it the continued radio silence from his camp regarding the reported trip to Vegas?
I really do hate to once again rain on the parade of those who still think Manziel should get another chance (no I don’t — it’s a lot of fun), but it’s almost impossible to believe Haslam is going to open the door to the idea of letting a player who’s done nothing but let them down get another opportunity to do so.
The most logical explanation for this, one which has been raised by a few in the media, is that Haslam is simply trying to add some positive light around Manziel to potentially increase the odds of being able to trade him. Knowing the Browns are unlikely to even get a pair of used cleats in return for Manziel right now, this might be an attempt to say, “He could fix his relationship with us, or he could do so for you at the right price.”
It’s a little difficult to believe said strategy could work, but hey, it can’t hurt to try, right? Regardless, Haslam’s latest comments shouldn’t be seen as any sort of indication Manziel can improve his chances to stay with the team. Quite frankly, his actions since the final week of the season are just proof he wouldn’t deserve that opportunity anyway.