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Browns QB Johnny Manziel transcript - June 17, 2015

Opening statement:

"I'll start off by saying, obviously, thank you to you guys for being respectful during my time over this offseason and throughout the last couple months. I know it's been awhile since I've been here in front of you guys, but I do want to say I appreciate that. Secondly, to this organization, to everyone here, Pett (Head Coach Mike Pettine), all the way to the top, (Owner) Mr. (Jimmy) Haslam, (General Manager) Ray Farmer, Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo), Kev (quarterbacks coach Kevin O'Connell), everybody who came to see me throughout my time that I was away – it means a lot to me. It really helped me out through a difficult time. Moving forward, my focus is on football. This is what I'm here to do. This is what I love to do. That's what I'm here to talk about today, guys. My private life and what goes on, that's documented about, I think, enough. For me, today, I'm sitting here and eager to talk about the 2015 Cleveland Browns, what we have this year and what we have in this locker room moving forward, really the goals and what we want to do this season. That's really my focus. Everything else, I'm trying to really close a chapter on my life and move forward and really continue to build on the things that I've done throughout this offseason. With that, I'll just open it up to you guys."

On if he can be the starting quarterback for the 2015 Cleveland Browns and if he wants to be:

"I think right now it's early. I think we're in a stage as a team as an offense where we have a new coaching staff coming in. We're eager to get these plays, get familiar with everything, get comfortable and really come out of this OTA session with a good base under us to where we can move it into training camp and then toy with some things here and there and for me, really just continue to progress. It's obviously new, another offensive coordinator, but that's part of the game. That's part of how this league is – come in and come out. With that, you just have to adapt and try to get better."

On if he rediscovered how much he loves football and how much he needs it in his time away:

"I definitely missed it. This is a game that I do truly love. I know from the second that I got back and got back around these guys and the way that they treated me in this locker room from the day I got back – I really can't even put it into words how special that was for me, just coming back in and just being accepted as anyone else, like nothing else had happened. It was good to get back in and work through this offseason and just work through these OTAs and just get a chance to bond with these guys even more. It's a lot better coming in as a second-year (player) and being around these guys for a full season compared to coming in fresh like it was last year."

On if he has to prove his teammates that he is really dedicated to the team this season:

"I think I just need to continue to do the right thing, continue to do my best out here, putting in extra time and really just trying to learn to the utmost degree that I can. I think that's the process of where I'm still at. I'm still learning. It's a big jump for me coming from what I did in college until now. There's no denying that, and for me, really just continue to develop is what I want to do."

On how he would describe himself as a teammate last year:

"I think that's a question you have to ask my teammates. I was in here every day. I think a lot of it off the field, I was a little bit of a distraction. I feel bad about today. I feel bad about that throughout the last months of my life really thinking back and seeing how much of my life outside of this field and outside of this locker room was documented. It's not fair for (DB) Joe Haden having to be answering questions about me every day. It's not fair for (OL) Joe Thomas and all these guys to just continue to have questions asked about me. I don't think that's fair at all, and I don't want that on them. That's part of the reason why I'm sitting up here today is finally to get me out here and get me answering these questions because I don't think it's fair for them. While they're my teammates, I think there's other questions about other stuff that they could be answering."

On if he acknowledges the pressure of people either wanting to see him 'succeed big or fail big':

"I probably felt it a little more towards after the season. Obviously, last year was, in my mind, for me personally, a disaster. I didn't come out and perform. That's what it comes down to. Regardless of everything else, come out and what matters on this field is what really matters. I think there is a fine line of some people who have a lot of hope in me and a lot of faith and who are truly fans and a lot of people that think because of the way that – I think it's even my fault – I've built myself up. I set myself up for a little bit of failure in that regard if I didn't come out as a rookie and really perform. I think there is a very fine line between those two groups of people for sure."

On how he tunes out the pressure:

"I think I've done a good job throughout this offseason of really trying to get back to my roots and who I really am as a person. I moved out of – obviously, as you guys know, I moved. I got back to doing some things that I grew up doing that I really enjoy that are quiet, that occupy my time in a better way other than traveling or anything else of that sort. I'm here in Cleveland. I've obviously have kind of made this my home. Moving forward, just doing things that I really, really, truly love to do."

On bringing his high school coach into the area, if it was his idea and how it's going:

"Like I said earlier today, I'm trying to keep a lot of my private, personal life exactly that. It's personal so I have made steps to ensure a better chance of success for me moving forward. I will leave it at that. Everything moving forward, my private life has been out there to a maximum degree. There's no doubt about that. For me, one thing that I wanted to do moving forward in this offseason is just try and quiet that to the best of my ability. Whatever I can do to help quiet the noise that has surrounded this team and surrounded myself, I don't want that anymore. I just want to be another player on this team that is in here trying to get better and just trying to be successful. We want to win here. I'm another guy that's trying to contribute to this team and do whatever I can."

On if the money sign will still be part of Johnny Manziel:

"The money sign will not be back. I will not be making it."

On how well he thinks he's playing out there:

"Like I said, it's a process. I'm doing some good things and doing some bad things. I think that's part of the OTA season. Some days, you come out you really feel like you have it down. Next day, defense will come out and throw a little bit of wrinkles at you, and you have to go back to the film and evaluate."

On how much of what he was dealing with last year affected him as a football player:

"Last year was last year for me. It was what it was, and it was not very good. For me, I'm trying to close that chapter and just build on what I've done so far this year and just move forward and really just try and close that chapter in my life – not one that I'm very proud of, not one that I want to look back on very much and draw back on, that's for sure."

On having said before that he's changed, if it is different this time and if he thinks that he's really changed:

"I think it's actions. Actions speak way louder than words. As much as I may have intended to do some of those things last year and really, truly wanted to – I don't feel like I was in a position personally. Now, I think I'm doing the right things and taking the right steps necessary for me to put myself in the best position possible to be exactly what this organization drafted me to be. I don't want to give up on that fact at all. I'm not giving up on the fact that they brought me in here as a first-round pick and want to see something out of me. It's not lost on me and hopefully not on the people in this locker room either."

On QB Josh McCown celebrating a completion by Manziel in practice and if knowing that there isn't a quarterback competition makes the quarterback room friendlier and more comfortable:

"I think Josh is just… I'll speak on Josh. I think he's been awesome since the day I walked in. He's a Texas guy. He's from right down the road from where I was born and raised. We have a little bit of a connection there, and then I remember when I went on my visit to Tampa last year and meeting with (Buccaneers Head) Coach Lovie (Smith) and those guys there, he was extremely nice. I sat there and talked to him for probably 10 or 15 minutes during that visit. Then, to have him come in I felt a Texas guy, an east Texas guy, we were really similar in a lot of ways. He's been really cool, and we've been able to talk about a lot of things about back home. He's been able to help me, obviously being a veteran, with coverages, with protections. He's been through this quite a few times – new offense, new system. I think he's really helped me a lot and been, like as you've seen out there, I think he's been great for not only me but for Thad (Lewis) being in there, as well as Connor (Shaw), too."

On if not competing for the starting job helps him to get his personal life in order or if he thinks he's always competing:

"I'm not going to sit here and say…It's really not up to me. It's really up to what Coach Pettine says and what this organization, what the guys above me have to say. All I'm trying to do is come out right now, do what I can to make Coach Flip, Coach O'Connell – not turn the ball over and try and do what they want this quarterback position here to do – that's not turn the ball over, be smart with the football and go through our progressions. Obviously, that's Coach Pettine's decision, but for now, I'm just doing all that I can do. That's a progress for me to just try and get better."

On if he got tired of trying to live up to the Johnny Football persona last season:

"I think it just overtook who I was just as a person, too. I think, at times, Johnny Football probably took over me a little bit, too, and I bought into that. Like I said, I think I didn't do my best to hush things down, push down the hype. I think, at times, I welcomed it with immaturity and just accepted that a little bit. That's my fault. At the end of the day, everything that happened last year is not on anybody else but myself. I guess I wasn't prepared to handle the type of spotlight that I got and all the hype that came with it. Moving forward, I'm trying to do my part to just push that down, suffocate that a little bit and just try and live my life and come out here. I'm happy being back out here on the football field. I'm happy being back out here with these guys. I'm excited to come to work every day."

On what aspects of his game he's trying to improve:

"We're adding our protections in a little bit this year. Now, it's a little bit of another layer for me to come in and try to learn, but I feel like right now I'm throwing the ball probably better than I have been, especially through the early part of OTAs. I really felt like it was coming out of my hand better than it was last year, and I feel like I had a little bit more juice on it. Just coming from that, it's just the process of now I'm not as focused on spitting the plays out, knowing where everybody's going to be because of the lengthiness of it last year and because of already being through it a year. It's easier now. Now I'm focused on, 'OK, where is this safety going? What is this doing?' Being able to focus more on what the defense is doing to us, where last year I was still a little bit enamored with everything that we were doing and not being able to focus on the defensive side of the ball. Just continuing to take the progression of being a quarterback in this league and everything that goes with it to another level and just continuing to learn to where things come second nature. I think that's the biggest step for me right now is trying to get everything to come second nature."

On if he's learned what it takes in terms of dedication and commitment to be a successful NFL quarterback, what those things are and how he is trying to apply them:

"I think I've tried to be in here on the days that we have off and trying to be in this building as much as possible. If there's something that irritates me, itches at me, kind of leaves me a little sour after practice, stay in here and figure it out to where that doesn't happen again. Really that's the biggest thing – not making the same mistake twice from a different look or just trying to get thrown off. We're trying to be a step ahead. For me, the more time I've put in here watching film, the more time I sit in there with Josh. That's a big thing that we did. Through OTAs, after practice everybody else would be out of here. Me and Josh would sit in here for some extra hours even to the afternoon and still being able to go on the golf course even later in the day. Being able to stay in here as long as possible and still get out of here and get some time to relax is really the balance. This position is extremely demanding, and I think for me now even if I feel I may be doing enough I need to continue to try and do more. The more time that I spend in this building, the better."

On how difficult it will be to close that chapter of his life:

"I don't think so at all. I think that chapter of my life is behind me, at least. I'm moving forward. I'm sitting here today, like I said, happy, looking forward to the future and just really excited for this season, to get into training camp, to get into preseason games and get to play against other defenses again."

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