Just a few days after Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas told ESPN Cleveland that Johnny Manziel has "lost a lot of trust" among his teammates over the past year, another member of the Browns' O-line had a more optimistic view of the young signal-caller in a radio interview on Wednesday.
Center Alex Mack said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he didn't feel that Manziel had to win back his trust after the rookie's disappointing debut season, and that "he just needs to work hard ... [and] play well" for his teammates. Manziel also had his share of off-field issues, most notably when he voluntarily checked himself into an inpatient rehab facility in late January. Mack gave Manziel a lot of credit for admitting his problem and going to rehab and thinks he'll "take things more seriously" from now on.
When asked whether Manziel can still be the long-term answer at quarterback for the Browns, Mack replied yes and admitted that even "he'll tell you himself he didn't have a great year last year." Manziel appeared in five games (two starts) last season, completing 18 of 35 passes for 175 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions.
Mack, who agreed to a five-year deal worth up to $42 million in April 2014, also addressed his future with the franchise. He can opt out of his contract after the 2015 season, but wouldn't speculate on what his plans were for next year.
"I'm not going to worry about it too much. My worry is about getting on the field to play. So I'm going to worry about myself and how I can be on the field, how I can help my team, and how I can be the same player I was before I broke my leg," said on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
A two-time Pro Bowler, Mack has started every game he's played in since being drafted by the Browns in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He has been a mainstay on Cleveland's offensive line, never missing a down until he suffered a season-ending broken leg in Week 5 last year. His recovery is progressing well, and he is expected to be ready for training camp this summer.
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