Johnny Manziel Visits Youngsters; Struggles in OTAsBy: Brian Powell - June 5, 2014
On Wednesday, Cleveland Browns backup quarterback, former Heisman Trophy winner, and media juggernaut Johnny Manziel ventured into a different arena – an elementary school.
Manziel and other first-year Browns players kicked-off the team’s new charity program, First and Ten, at Grindstone Elementary in Berea, Ohio yesterday. The aim of the program is to get every Browns employee, player, and fan to volunteer their services at an organization for at least 10 hours per year. By making such a small contribution on a wide-scale, the Browns are hoping to drastically impact the Cleveland community.
“First and Ten will strengthen our community involvement in Northeast Ohio and around the country, uniting our team and tremendous fans through volunteerism. Browns fans are passionate, loyal and supportive, and those traits will further allow us to positively influence our respective communities with this unique initiative,”stated Browns owner Dee Haslam.
While the aim of the First and Ten program visiting Grindstone Elementary was most likely to recruit volunteers to their mission, all of the attention was on Johnny Football.
As Manziel walked into the school’s gymnasium, the students burst into a raucous frenzy, screaming out for Manziel and rubbing their fingers together in Manziel’s famous money gesture. While one may have expected Manziel to be put-off by the outpour of attention from so many people at once, he has gotten used to the attention: “I don’t think much catches me off guard anymore. It was warm and very welcome and I’m very grateful they gave me an ovation.”
Unfortunately for Manziel, he received anything but an ovation following the Browns third series of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) on Tuesday.
Running the first-team offense, Manziel managed to commit three turnovers – all by interception – during skill drills and full-squad scrimmage. While many may be disparaged concerning Manziel’s lack of improvement thus far, Browns coach Mike Pettine has yet to come to any conclusion.
“It’s difficult when he’s got the red (non-contact jersey) on and the defensive guys know they can’t tackle him. It’s hard to get glimpses of that, but we did some designed rollouts with him, and he’s shown when he can get in the open field he can run through an angle and he can eat up some ground pretty quickly.”
Manziel’s best play of the OTAs came on a roll-out to the right, with Manziel firing back across the field to hit tight-end Jordan Cameron who was covered by two defenders – one of which was the nose tackle.
“The first thing I wondered was what the hell coverage we were we in. I think he just sensed the play coming because we’ve been burned on it a couple times in practice, so he just latched on to him and started running. It was actually pretty funny,” recalled Pettine.
For some Browns fans, however, it doesn’t matter how well Manziel does in pre-season scrimmages as they have already cast their ballot for quarterback.
Manziel has a little over three months to change such sentiments before the 2014-15 NFL season begins.
Image via Twitter