Manziel's act has not worn thin

BEREA, Ohio -- While there have been many critics of Johnny Manziel's off-the-field pursuits, at least publicly, his teammates have not been among them.

According to his teammates, several of whom have been in many NFL locker rooms over the course of their careers, are not worried about what the first-round pick does when he is away from the facility, so long as it does not affect his play between the white lines or his focus in the classroom.

"It's summertime," Browns wide receiver Nate Burleson said. "Everybody else gets to enjoy summertime. I don't know if it's because we signed up as NFL players. We've only got a small window to really enjoy ourselves. I wouldn't necessarily use the word forgiving because that would kind of imply that he's doing something wrong.

"I just think he's a guy that's going out and enjoying his free time. If he came out here stumbling around, smelling like booze, we could have this conversation. That would be a legitimate conversation to have. He's coming out here focused, very alert, tight, locked in on what he's doing. Until that changes, I think everybody should just let the young guy do what young guys do and that's enjoy life."

After a much-publicized trip to Las Vegas over the Memorial Day weekend that saw Manziel partying poolside with New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, sitting cageside at a UFC pay-per-view fight and spraying champagne from a stage onto a crowd of people at a nightclub, he returned to his home state of Texas.

While in Texas last weekend, Manziel took in an NBA Finals game between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat and was photographed riding an inflatable swan in a swimming pool while sipping a bottle of champagne.

"He can't do anything. Whether it's on the field making a play, good or bad, enjoying himself in his free time, he's one of those guys. He's this year's (Tim) Tebow," Burleson said. "You can't turn on the radio or the TV without hearing something about Johnny. All I know is when he shows up for work, he wants to play football, and that's what I'm concerned about."

Cornerback Joe Haden added, "Johnny's a grown man. He's doing his thing. I feel like when he's out here, when he's on the field, he's in these walls being a rookie and doing the best that he can do. He's been a great teammate."

In addition to the partying, Manziel was selected in the 28th round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the San Diego Padres, for whom he threw out a ceremonial first pitch last May. However, Browns coach Mike Pettine does not see Manziel, a former high-school baseball player, trading in his shoulder pads for a bat and glove anytime soon.

"I know the kid is die-hard football," Pettine said. "To me, if he had been a standout college baseball player and was doing both, (fine). I'll answer for him. He's football, through and through."

Regardless of the hype Manziel receives in the media, his new teammates, some of whom competed against him in college, are okay with it so long as he helps the Browns win games in the fall.

"His body of work in college warrants that (attention)," outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo said. "He did a great job in college. He won the Heisman Trophy. He put up ridiculous stats while in college. That production is what we want here. We can't wait for him to get out and show it on Sundays."


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