The Cleveland Browns are trying to avoid a media circus when it comes to Johnny Manziel by limiting media access to the former Heisman Trophy winner, which of course will only increase the attention and media scrutiny.
Bart Hubbach of the New York Post was planning to attend the Browns rookie minicamp but was told not to waste his time by the organization, as only local writers were being credentialed to cover the event. Hubbach tweeted out what he was told by the Browns public relations director.
Browns PR director told me: "We don't want this to be a Tebow situation. It's not going to be Johnny Football Mania out there."— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) May 13, 2014
Cleveland apparently watched the Tim Tebow drama unfold from afar and wants no part of a distraction. Tebow, who came out of Florida as a first round pick to the Denver Broncos, became the center of attention throughout the league, especially after he was traded to the New York Jets in 2012.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is clearly trying to take a hard line with the Manziel experience. After selecting him with the help of a homeless man, Haslam has already told Manziel that "Cleveland is not Hollywood" and that he needs to act like the backup quarterback he is to Brian Hoyer.
However, Matt Wood of SB Nation's Dawgs by Nature is not seeing eye-to-eye with Haslam, believing the team should be turned over to the rookie.
Why should Manziel play behind Hoyer? This is a brand new offense to both players, so Hoyer doesn't have an advantage here. He is learning just like Manziel is. So why are we going to hold Manziel back in this regard? Manziel should be getting almost all of the reps in camp, preseason and in practice. Having Hoyer as the starter wouldn't allow the rookie, in the most important camp of his career, to do this. In fact it would be holding him back from learning a new offense first hand.
Limiting the media to Manziel early is likely to make things more hectic when the veterans come in to join the rookie for mandatory minicamp from June 10-12. Per NFL rules, the team can not hold back the media during that period, allowing for a crush of attention to be placed squarely on Johnny Football.
Ultimately, the Browns need to accept the likelihood of a traveling band of reporters following Manziel, at least in the early going. Fighting it will just make it worse and more of a story.