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Browns QB Johnny Manziel close to returning, focused on regular season

The feeling is nothing new for Johnny Manziel, and that's why he's confident the elbow soreness he's experienced won't hold him back in 2015.

The Browns second-year quarterback hasn't thrown a pass in more than a week, but he expects to resume throwing next week when the team begins its preparations for Week 1 against the New York Jets.

"It kind of comes and goes," Manziel said. "In the offseason, it is really not much of a problem. OTAs weren't much of a problem. As we get into camp it is a little bit of a grind because we are throwing every day. It kind of comes and goes. It comes with rest. As I get a little bit more rest it gets back to normal."

Manziel said he's felt the soreness, which he described as tendinitis, ever since his freshman year at Texas A&M. From 2012-2013, he threw 863 in-game passes and countless ones on the practice field.

A recent MRI of the elbow showed no structural damage, and none of the doctors the team consulted with recommended any kind of surgery. He's played through it in the past and plans to continue to do so when his second NFL season officially begins.

"I think the past couple days have been good progress getting back to where it needs to be," Manziel said.

Browns coach Mike Pettine said Manziel, who won't play Thursday in Cleveland's preseason finale against the Bears, is "close" to resuming his normal practice activities and is right where he and Cleveland's trainers thought he'd be at this point of the process. He's "hopeful" Manziel will be ready to assume his role as Josh McCown's backup for the season opener. If he's not, the team will have the spot covered in appropriate fashion.

"I think I will be ready if that opportunity does present itself," Manziel said. "I have been taking a lot of mental reps and making sure I have been really ingrained in what we have been doing these past couple weeks. Last week was our full game plan for the week. Making sure we were really studying Tampa and trying to treat it like we would the Jets or any other week we are going to have in the season. It all went really well. Making most of the mental reps is a part of being in the position I am in, too."

Since he returned to the team for OTAs, Manziel has been constantly praised for his dedicated work ethic and commitment to improving as an NFL quarterback. In two preseason games, Manziel was 17-of-29 with 160 yards and a touchdown, showing better command in the pocket and a better understand of the offense in which he's conducting.

Manziel admitted there was some frustration about not being able to get more in-game repetitions during the preseason but understood the importance of resting his elbow. He said he likely would have played a half against Tampa Bay and had a "full start" against the Bears.

"I tried to leave the option on the table to come back and try to get ready for the Chicago game, but coming off a short week and I wanted to be ready for the regular season more than the fourth preseason game," Manziel said. "I think that was the big thing to just tone it down and give it extra time, even maybe more than needed just to get it back to the right spot."

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