Johnny Manziel was drunk when he showed up the Browns’ facility the week following a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Dec. 27. The Browns reportedly lied to cover it up.
The Browns lied to try to protect a drunk Johnny Manziel the week before Cleveland’s final game.
That’s the explosive new charge being leveled by the NFL Network’s Michael Silver.
“The Browns lied and said he was in the concussion protocol,” Silver said in an on-air segment.
“Let me repeat that. The Browns lied to try and protect, and I would argue enable, this irresponsible and troubled young man.”
Silver later tried to dial back his assertion and said he regretted using the term “lied.”
The allegation that the troubled quarterback showed up drunk had been previously reported. Former Cleveland Plain-Dealer beat writer Tony Grossi, who now works for ESPN Radio’s Cleveland affiliate, first brought us that nugget of news during the Browns’ postgame show on Sunday, Jan. 3. He said Manziel showed up “disheveled and inebriated” at the team facility.
The fact that the troubled quarterback showed up drunk had been previously reported.
Silver was taking the story to a new level by saying the team tried to cover it up. He later backtracked with a seven-part Twitter statement:
“I’ve been told by multiple sources that Manziel showed up late to the team facility for a meeting & noticeably drunk on Wednesday, Dec. 30. He was later placed in the concussion protocol & sent home.
“I am not a doctor & thus cannot presume to question the diagnosis of an independent neurologist or any medical professional … I do not have direct knowledge of what Manziel may have told the doctor or doctors who evaluated him, or what might have been suggested.
“If the Browns say they did not lie about Manziel’s diagnosis, I will take them at their word, and I regret using that term (“lied”).
Johnny Manziel with girlfriend Colleen Crowley.
“I stand by my original report that Manziel showed up drunk at practice & that witnesses believed this was the cause of his ‘behavior.’”
The Browns called Silver’s initial report “false” in a statement to Cleveland.com.
“Johnny Manziel came to our facility on the morning of December 30th and complained of concussion symptoms,” the Browns said in the statement, according to Cleveland.com. “He was tested by an independent neurologist and entered the league’s concussion protocol. He remained in the protocol until Jan. 12 after being cleared by the independent neurologist.”
Manziel was inactive for the Browns’ Week 17 game against the Steelers. It was officially listed as a concussion by the team.
The Associated Press reported on Dec. 30 that the team said Manziel reported to the facility that day complaining of concussion-like symptoms. There was no specific play that people could point to from the previous week’s game against the Chiefs that would indicate Manziel had suffered a concussion. He threw for 136 yards (13 for 32) and was not sacked in a 17-13 loss to Kansas City.
He did absorb several hard hits as he rushed for 108 yards on 11 carries.
At the time, then-Browns coach Mike Pettine said the team would take the cautious approach with Manziel. Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer were fired after the season-ending loss to the Steelers.
Manziel, 23, is under investigation by Dallas police for an alleged domestic violence assault against his ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley.
His father revealed last week that Manziel has refused two attempts by his family to get him into a rehab facility. The Browns are reportedly expected to cut ties with him next month.
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