CLEVELAND — Johnny Manziel spent his first weekend in the NFL hanging around other rookies and unsigned free agents.
He’s about to take the field with the bigger boys.
Manziel, who had a “positive” rookie minicamp with Cleveland, will practice this week with the club’s veteran players, including Brian Hoyer, the quarterback he’ll try to unseat as starter.
Browns first-year coach Mike Pettine made it clear that Manziel and Hoyer realize what’s at stake and that their competitive juices are already flowing.
“I don’t know if they’re going to be sending each other Christmas cards anytime soon,” Pettine said of the relationship between Manziel and Hoyer. “But they both know they’re in it together and they’re going to compete. I think they both feel comfortable that, as a staff, we’re going to put the best quarterback that puts us in position to win games, we’re going to put him out there.”
Pettine spoke Monday after appearing with Indians manager Terry Francona at a Positive Coaching Alliance breakfast at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Pettine reported that Manziel, the uber-hyped former Texas A&M star, succeeded in every aspect of the three-day minicamp, which was only open to the media for 15 minutes on Saturday as the team tries to curtail “Manzielmania.”
“It was a good start for him,” Pettine said. “We weren’t that concerned about the execution of plays. It was very difficult with a pieced-together offensive line and receiving corps guys who were learning the offense, too. It was a little ragged across the board when you’re bringing in guys and it’s new to all of them. I thought he did a good job handling himself in the huddle and making the call and the pre-snap communication, knowing where to go with the ball.