Why Johnny Manziel’s text had little effect on the Browns

Why Johnny Manziel’s text had little effect on the Browns

Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) gestures on stage after being selected as the number twenty-two overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to the Cleveland Browns at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

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by Brent Sobleski / USA TODAY SPORTS

USA TODAY

Posted on May 19, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Johnny Manziel’s text during the NFL draft to Cleveland Browns quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains has already worked its way into NFL lore, but it may have been far more innocent than it’s been portrayed.

The now infamous text from Manziel to Loggains stated, “‘I wish you guys would come get me. Hurry up and draft me because I want to be there. I want to wreck this league together.”

A chain reaction then started.

In an interview with ESPN Arkansas, Loggains said he relayed the text to Browns head coach Mike Pettine and team owner Jimmy Haslam. At that point, Haslam supposedly told the Browns’ front offense to “pull the trigger. We’re trading up to go get this guy.”’

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Manziel told Cleveland.com he simply wanted to be a part of their organization, because he was comfortable with their coaches.

“I mean, I felt I had a good relationship with coach Loggains and he was probably one of the only people to text me while the draft was going on and he kind of let me know there was some opportunities to try and get me in an earlier slot and obviously we were where we were, around 20 or something. So this was a place that I felt comfortable with and liked coach (Kyle) Shanahan and liked the situation here and so I wanted to come here and if they wanted to take me and were trying to get me earlier, I said, ‘let’s do it.’

I don’t know what kind of influence that had or what exactly that did, but this was a place I wanted to be and ended up here and for me, whenever it is I get a chance to play, I don’t want to come in and be mediocre. So to have success you need to do some good things and that’s more what I was talking about than coming and dominating as a rookie, it wasn’t that talk at all. It was coming in and trying to win some games if I’m going to be here and if I get the opportunity to play.”

In the days since Loggains participated in the radio interview, the entire situation has been interpreted in many different ways.

MORE: Browns can’t silence the Johnny Manziel story

The most popular theory is Haslam pulled rank in the draft room and some sort of rift formed in the Browns front office. Yet, key quotes Loggains also added during his interview were overlooked.

“I think I worked out 14 quarterbacks, went to their schools, their high schools and worked them out, ate dinner with them, brought them to Cleveland,” Loggains detailed. “Once we finished all of our evaluations, it was Johnny’s name at the top of the list and there was everyone else, so I knew we needed a quarterback and we were very high on Johnny.”

Not only was Manziel at the top of the Browns quarterback board during the evaluation process, but the team also attempted to move up and acquire him prior to his draft-day text.

Mr. Haslam and coach Pettine had called me down to the draft room a couple of times throughout the night and we had almost made trades with Tennessee and Dallas and backed out,” Loggains added. “…We were sitting there and coach Pettine keeps texting me, and we’re going back and forth and we’re going ‘hey does Dallas take him here, no they won’t. Does St. Louis take him at 13?’ We knew we had to get in front of the Chiefs (at No. 23) because we knew they would draft him.”

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In the end, the trade and selection of Johnny Manziel falls squarely on the shoulders of Browns general manager Ray Farmer.

“I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that Jimmy Haslam at no point demanded, requested, tried to influence the process in any way,” Farmer told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “He definitely asked questions, he’ll definitely give his opinion of what he thinks and all of those things are fine. But at the end of the day, he trusted the football staff to make the decisions that we thought were the right decisions for this football team.”

Manziel’s draft-day text to the Browns is a nice story that essentially prompted nothing. The story was an anecdote from one of the Browns’ coaches to show how much the team liked him as a prospect throughout the process.

Anything more than that is making something out of nothing.

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