Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel will continue to live life the way he sees fit.
BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is sick of talking about his off-the-field exploits, but he has no plans of slowing down in his free time.
Speaking at a Play 60 youth football camp at the Browns' Berea training facility Friday as part of the 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium, Manziel said that he works hard during the week to prepare for the season, and wants to relax from the pressure-packed world of the NFL when he is away from the team.
"I don't think I'm doing anything wrong," Manziel said. "Everybody on the weekends goes out and enjoys their life, lives their life and they don't have people, when they walk into a place, pull out their phones and all they want to do is follow me around and record everything. My situation is unique and different.
"Wherever I'm at, whether it's here in Cleveland on the weekend, whether it's in Dallas or anywhere on the weekend, people want to record what I'm doing because they think it's a story. Everybody goes out and has fun. Everybody goes out and does that and I'm not doing anything that's putting myself in a harmful situation. I'm not doing anything that's putting my team or jeopardizing what I do here throughout the week or what I'm looking forward to doing this season."
Although Manziel will enjoy his time away from the game, he did acknowledge the "unique situation" that has been his life since becoming the first freshman ever to win the Heisman Trophy, a moment that launched the "Johnny Football" phenomenon.
"I didn't think I was any different than anybody else, but when I walk in somewhere, it's a story," Manziel said. "Whether it's a bar, whether it's a restaurant, whether it's anything, I have to have a better understanding of that. I'm not going to change who I am for anybody.
"I'm growing up and continuing to learn from my mistakes and try not to make the same ones over and over again. But, am I going to live in a shell or am I just going to hide from everybody and not do anything? I don't think that's the way I should live my life and I'm not going to do it."
Recently, Pro Football Hall of Famers Warren Moon, Joe Montana and Emmitt Smith have gone on record as saying Manziel is on a path that will lead to a short NFL career, and although the rookie signal-caller respects their opinions, he wants them, and everyone else that questions his off-the-field behavior, to know that it does not affect him when he steps on the football field or into a team meeting.
"I'm very committed to football," Manziel said. "I'm committed to my job, and on the weekends, I'm going to enjoy my time off. I think we deserve it. We work hard here. We've worked hard since the draft. We've worked hard to get drafted, and put ourselves in a good position at the combine, and even after that to stay in shape.
"My weekends aren't what I'm doing seven days a week. That's two days out of the week, and there's five other days that I'm in this building going through my playbook, working out just like every other rookie is. Nothing that I'm doing on the weekends is affecting my job. Nothing on the weekends that I'm doing is hopefully hurting any of my teammates in the locker room. More than anything, my teammates are tired of getting asked about me because I'm low man on the totem pole.
"I'm sitting there seeing these things and I'm tired of it as well. I want to wake up with a week and not have my name going through something. I'm working on getting better at that, but if I want to go home and spend time with my friends or enjoy my weekends, I absolutely have the right to do that. We're going to get a little bit of a break here, and I'm still going to continue to work out, do the things I need to do, and hopefully, not let that come between me and my teammates or anything like that."
After the conclusion of the 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium, Manziel said he will return to Texas and spend some time with his family, including his sister before she goes back to school and he reports for the start of training camp at the end of July.
And while he plans on enjoying his time away from Berea, Manziel said he will study his playbook with the goal of winning the Browns' starting quarterback job for the regular-season opener at the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 7.
"Absolutely, I want to play," Manziel said. "That's what anybody wants to do that's been a starter in the past. They want to play. Obviously, I'm very competitive. I remember my red-shirt year when I didn't play. It's tough to sit there, but at the same time, there's a lot of knowledge that I learned from Ryan Tannehill.
"Will it be the end of the world if that's not the case? No, I think you take it in stride and learn from your situation and you make the most of what situation you're in. To say I don't want to be the starter is ridiculous. I absolutely want to start. That's my goal, and hopefully, I can achieve that, but if not, it's not the end of the world."