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Browns end Johnny Manziel’s awful NFL draft night, possibly with help from a homeless man

Johnny Manziel was a little pensive as he walked onto the stage (Jason DeCrow / AP)

The saga of Johnny Football’s journey to the NFL wouldn’t be complete without a slide, a scramble, drama, flair and a report about a homeless guy clinching Cleveland’s decision to select the Texas A&M quarterback in the first round of the NFL draft.

Johnny Manziel became Johnny Dawg Pound when the Browns took him with the 22nd pick, after a nearly 3-hour wait in which he became an internet meme several times. He looked increasingly shell-shocked as pick after pick went by, then recovered quickly when his name was called. A big cheer went up in Radio City Music Hall and he quickly was Johnny Football again, making his signature gesture to the crowd. Immediately afterward, ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio reported that owner Jimmy Haslam was convinced Manziel was his man after a homeless man told him “Draft Manziel!” as he was leaving a restaurant recently.

It didn’t take long for Johnny Manziel to recover and morph into Johnny Football, er, Dawg Pound. (Adam Hunger / USA Today)

This being Manziel, that sounds about right. In any event, Manziel was happy to join the Dawg Pound.

“This is a great day for me,” he said. “It’s something that I’ve thought about since I was a kid. You’re 12 years old, watching the NFL draft. I’ve always dreamed to be in that room and be on that stage one day. So my dream came true, and for me there’s no disappointment. You can call it a slide. I wouldn’t call it [that] at all. I was drafted in the first round of the NFL draft. For me, that blows my mind.”

Never mind that the Browns have drafted quarterbacks named Brady Quinn and Brandon Weeden with the 22nd pick in the past. Just to name two. There were reports that “Johnny Cleveland,” chanted by fans during his press conference, had been trademarked. (Not by the same guys who trademarked Bernie Cleveland, and Brady Cleveland and Tim Cleveland and LeBron Cleveland and  …) It’s motivation for Manziel, who said all the right things Thursday night, even after the team embarrassingly announced that it had taken him with the “22th overall pick.”

“I believe [I will have a chip on my shoulder],” Manziel told reporters on a conference call. “What a blessing and an honor it is, but at the same time, a lot of teams passed me up, so it’s just like I think with anybody, you do grow a little bit of a chip, but you try to get better and become a good football player.”



After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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