Browns Coach Mike Pettine, Joe Namath defend Johnny Manziel’s partying ways


(Mark Duncan/AP)

What did you do over the weekend? Maybe you caught up on “Orange Is the New Black” or took your kid to the park. Maybe you had a nice little Saturday going to Home Depot and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Cool, but here’s what Cleveland Browns first-round draft pick Johnny Manziel did.

Yep, that’s him drinking champagne on an inflatable swan at at Club Rio in Austin. This party weekend follows a high-profile trip to Las Vegas last month where he partied with Pauly D from “Jersey Shore.”

But this kind of offseason fun isn’t fazing Manziel’s new coach. Mike Pettine, who said (via ESPN) after a minicamp practice on Tuesday that he was “not concerned” about the quarterback’s behavior. In fact, he defended Manziel (via ESPN):

“I think a lot of our guys, when they leave here if they were followed around, you’d get some very similar pictures. I don’t know about an inflatable swan, but I think you’d get some pictures. … I was involved with an event this weekend, and if there were cameras at certain times it probably wouldn’t have been the most flattering. We had a good time but we were responsible.”

Pettine said the only cause for concern with Manziel — or any player — would be if his behavior started affecting his job, i.e. playing football. He said (via ESPN):

“When it becomes irresponsible or it becomes part of something that involves breaking the law or we feel is a potential problem, we’ll step in.”

In the meantime, football legend Joe Namath also chimed in about the young draftee. During an interview on Monday with “NFL Total Access,” Namath defended Manziel’s wild ways:

“What difference does it make, really? And it is an example of the different eras and time. I do know this about Johnny Manziel: I haven’t seen anyone perform any better than Johnny the last two seasons on that football field.

And I do know that we love entertainment. Football is a sport, but it is show biz. It is entertainment. And Johnny — he’s gotta live his life, man. … . I’ve been to Vegas, you guys have probably been to Vegas. Give the man a little bit of room. But, in his position, he’s not entitled to be a regular guy, 22 years old, 21 years old. Everything’s blowing out of whack. I’d love him on my team, let me just say that.”

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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