Former teammates on Manziel’s time in Cleveland: ‘He wasn’t mature enough’

Johnny Manziel’s former teammates believe he was forced into action too soon in Cleveland.

All-Pro offensive lineman Joe Thomas and former Alouettes receiver Andrew Hawkins have started a podcast called The ThomaHawk Show. In the latest edition, Thomas and Hawkins were candid about what led to the Browns undoing in 2014 after the season started off in a promising way.

“The problem with the Mike Pettine experience in Cleveland as a head coach was Johnny Manziel. He was drafted in the first round. He was the heir apparent as the quarterback and people in the front office wanted to sell tickets and they wanted Johnny Manziel playing,” Thomas said.

Cleveland traded up in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft to select the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, moving up four spots from 26 to 22 for a third-round pick.

“And everybody that was on the football side of things that saw him practice, that saw him prepare – or lack of prepare – saw him in the meeting room, realized he just wasn’t ready, he wasn’t mature enough, he wouldn’t be able to handle it. But the first moment that [Brian] Hoyer slips up, now you’ve got those very powerful people in the front office saying, ‘You gotta play this guy, you gotta play this guy’ and it went on for a couple weeks and finally it got to the point where they won the argument and we had to play Johnny,” Thomas said.

“And as soon as that happened it was like everybody on the football side just gave up because they knew what the results were going to be like.”

Cleveland finished the season 7-9 and out of the playoffs.

“They knew that while the whole run around and throw the ball up in the air works in college, that’s not something that works in the NFL. You have to have that baseline amount of preparation to be able to go out there and proficiently operate offensively to give your team a chance to win and if you don’t do that it’s just not gonna happen.” Thomas explained.

Manziel went 0-2 as a starter in his rookie season, completing 18 of 35 passes for 175 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing nine times for 29 times and one touchdown.

“I don’t think Johnny was ready to play. I think Johnny would say that. If we had Johnny on the show right now I think Johnny would tell us that it was a bad look for him to be thrown into that situation. It probably helped his trajectory in the opposite direction because we were rolling,” Hawkins said.

“We were 7-4 in 2014, but it’s decisions like that that get you fired because it’s hard to get to 7-4 in this league. It’s hard to get 7-4 in this division and especially with the history that we have with the Browns.”

Full podcast (Johnny Manziel talk at 18:40):


26 Comments on Former teammates on Manziel’s time in Cleveland: ‘He wasn’t mature enough’

  1. Philip Nicholson // January 12, 2018 at 12:15 pm //

    Not exactly supporting his case for getting a starter’s salary in the CFL is it? Doesn’t feel like Hamilton would look any different.

    • Jeremiah was a Bull Frog // January 12, 2018 at 5:45 pm //

      The comment was “He wasn’t Mature enough” not that Johnny wasn’t good enough. Like they said. JM needed to better prepare. Plus the players just gave up. He was doomed. He a few years older now and is about to join a team where Head Coach June Jones would make sure Johnny was prepared.

  2. Alex Droho // January 12, 2018 at 12:23 pm //

    Time to look elsewhere for another QB. Trade his rights to Montreal if they still want him. He has issues that need resolution. Maturity is part of it but I question his intelligence and decision-making ability. He should know this is likely his last chance.

  3. Hamilton will look no different. Johnny needs to accept he has not proven he is anything but a 2nd maybe 3rd string qb that needs to develop and if he can’t accept that then he has not matured and Hamilton needs to move on and look at other qb’s to bring to camp behind Masoli

  4. This is the part that Manziel supporters are forced to ignore. His ego or attitude or work ethic – doesn’t really matter which one – result in him refusing to do the work necessary to be an effective pro QB. He just didn’t feel like putting in the time to prepare an learn the offence.

    Why on earth would that change if he comes to the CFL, when all indications are that he thinks he will dominate just by showing up?

    • He’s only 25, he wouldn’t been 21 and 22 in Cleveland.
      I am sure that at 25 he has matured.
      So yes he would change if he come to the CFL, would you have been mature enough to learn and run an offense at 21???
      No one said he will dominate just by showing up.
      Most of us understand that QBs have to perform in training camp.
      There are no guarantees, just look at Vince Young with the Riders, he couldn’t make it through the pre-season.
      How about giving the kid a chance

      • As long as you’re “sure” he has matured. What convinced you – the partying lifestyle, the assault charges, or the fact that not a single NFL team has taken another chance on him?

      • Comments on another article have a Manziel fan saying he will play one CFL season then be picked up by an NFL team.

        Is one season enough to change NFL GM and HC minds without dominating play on the field?

      • Blue rules // January 14, 2018 at 10:26 am //

        Jeff, THE KID HAS A CHANCE!!!!. just sign and show up!!DUH

  5. He’s Calgary bound. Me first attitude fits well with the locker room culture there. And Bo Puss needs a backup anyway.

  6. Habsnriders // January 12, 2018 at 12:55 pm //

    Part of me wants to see him in Montreal just see how messed up things would get . Between him and Reed the media would have a field day. The comedy would just write itself .

  7. Cats management, stick to your guns! You’ve offered him a reasonable contract, so if he signs, you then make him prove he’s a starter. If he won’t agree to that, ship his ass out of here. We’re in good shape with Masoli. I’d rather see them bring back Kevin Glenn than have that clown here.

  8. The “Tomahawk” I like it.
    Some in our country would find that name offensive…………

    Manziel is only 25, when he played with Cleveland he would have been 22?? that’s pretty young and I can understand not being mature

    • Sorry Jeff he hasnt shown any progress in maturity. You get drafted and become a pro and recieve a big contract, you study your playbook and learn the schemes listen to veteran players. This guy did none of that and now is litening to an agent who pumps his tires and ego. He is and should accept whatever contract is laid infront of him. After all he only wants to get back into the NFL. He has no desire to be in Canada so why would anyone think he will show any respect for the team, coaches, teammates or our league.

    • Blue rules // January 12, 2018 at 7:18 pm //

      @Jeff, with the spelling you used I would agree, small difference here is this a mash up of two names Joe Thomas & Andrew Hawkins, and it’s the “ThomaHawk show” still risky but slightly different

  9. Take this // January 12, 2018 at 1:43 pm //

    I don’t want to see him in Montreal either. That franchise is having tough times and they don’t need Manziel to add to their demise. I don’t think that he will ever be an advantage to any team. I don’t care if he attracts a lot of attention from within Canada or south of the line. The CFL is only as strong as their weakest team and cannot afford to lose another franchise again. Short term attention does Montreal no good; they need lasting improvement not keystones cops entertainment.

  10. Memo to all those in love with Manziel:

    “When Someone Shows You Who They Are, Believe Them.”
    ~ Maya Angelou

    When someone shows NO SIGNS of maturing or taking actions to change things, run the other way.

    Quite frankly the Ticats might have entered all this to get some value for having him on their Neg List knowing they’d not take the boy-clown but what it’s actually done is bring disrespect to the CFL.

    • Take this // January 12, 2018 at 2:15 pm //

      I agree. The CFL trying all these QBs that have worn out their welcome in the NFL, haven’t played in a few years, have attitude, maturity and legal issues, just makes the CFL look desperate and a little ridiculous. It is much better result if the QB makes headlines after playing in the CFL because of their excellent play then for just the possibility of them signing being the big headline.

  11. The league needs to come to it’s senses and stop pursuing this guy.
    We as a league cannot be this desperate and insecure!!
    P.S Please stop the articles. These are non
    stories unless he signs and even then, do we really care??

  12. Let’s get real. The Thomas interview said that Johnny was not committed to football. The reason being his off field issues. Which included addiction to drugs and alcohol. Not easy to be committed when you have an addiction. That is the main reason that he was let go not talent. He has gone 13 months of sobriety extreme vetting by cfl with further conditions should he play in cfl. This is his second chance in his career. All nfl is watching and he will be back to nfl. Nfl are not worried about his talent it was his focus and commitment to the game and want to know he has changed and will stop being the immature party guy to serious football player. All nfl want is to him do well and he will be back with offers next season. That would give him 2.5 years of sobriety. This guy is a super star. Let’s give him a chance to show it.

  13. Jhonny has matured he will b A star in CFL all u jealous fans who’s teams like Cal,Sask, Winnipeg who r disaster’s r crying like baby’s u won’t win a cup with Bo, Nickels’s or Collaros that’s a fact or Cal did win a cup on a bad penelty call so Lets embrace the CFL with Johnny

  14. Love your comment Blue rules.

  15. Edward Leslie // January 15, 2018 at 9:37 am //

    Jeremiah Masoli has a tremendous college career at Oregon and Mississippi, but he took about five years before he became the undisputed starter in Hamilton. He paid his dues as a backup first. Manziel shouldn’t leapfrog Masoli, simply based on his fame. If he’s willing to start as a backup and learn, this might work. But Hamilton isn’t going to sign him to a $500,000 contract, when there is a very good chance, he’ll be the #2 guy. The CFL has a salary cap of just $5.2 million. It’s just not feasible.

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