It was evident throughout Johnny Manziel's rookie season that things were not progressing the way the Cleveland Browns had hoped they would when they made him their first-round pick last May. Intense struggles on the field combined with persistent issues off of it, with evidence of his party-boy lifestyle surfacing regularly. On Friday, ESPN released a report detailing Manziel's tumultuous first season in the league, revealing him for what many accused him of being: immature, uncommitted, unprepared and brash.
According to one unnamed player, Manziel regarded the entire 2014 season as a "100 percent joke." When finally handed the starting job late in the season, ESPN claims his lack of preparation was apparent -- he consistently botched play calls and on multiple occasions had to be corrected by teammates in the huddle. Some teammates said they went to the line of scrimmage worried that the wrong play was being run.
The report claims that some veterans "clearly did not want to play for [Manziel]" and preferred undrafted rookie Connor Shaw. Shaw gained the respect of some teammates by playing through a hand and rib injury in the final game. That same weekend, Manziel sidelined with a hamstring injury, slept through a treatment session.
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As for that infamous missed training session, one team source described Manziel as "drunk off his a--" when security personnel showed up looking for him on the morning of Dec. 27, the day before the season finale against Baltimore. He was fined and forced to sit in the locker room during the game.
According to one source, Manziel's immaturity should have come as no surprise.
"During the draft process, not one person interviewed by the team said he was going to grow up," said one source directly involved in the drafting of Manziel. "You can't blame Johnny. This is who he is. The team knew that."
Another member of the organization told ESPN that Manziel did not receive the tough love that was necessary to straighten him out.
"He's a kid that I think wants to do well but needs to be shown how, and he didn't always get that help, in my opinion," the source said.
The Browns are still dealing with the fallout from Manziel's disastrous first year. The pressure from management to start him late in the season was part of the reason why offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan -- who reportedly didn't think Manziel was ready -- departed after just one year on the job.