Browns’ Owner Jimmy Haslam Comments On Johnny Manziel And Josh Gordon
Jimmy Haslam reign has really started out on the wrong foot. With all his promises to bring the Cleveland Browns out of obscurity, his team has become more of a media sensation than a cohesive organization. And this primarily has to do with the latest problems of Johnny Manziel, the Ray Farmer scandal and the suspension of Josh Gordon.
So the last few days, Haslam has made it his job to comment on all the media coverage of his organization. As for Manziel, the Browns will of course back him on his decision to go to rehab and there is no plan to give up on him.
“I applaud him for raising his hand and saying, ‘I need help.’ We’re going to do everything we can to support him. Our primary interest is making sure that he gets well… However long that takes, we’re going to stand beside him. We hope Johnny can get that straightened out because we feel he’s a really good athlete and can help our team. But the first thing he’s got to do is get himself fixed.”
As for the rumors the Browns are going after Oregon sensation Marcus Mariota, he claimed the speculation from the media is baseless. In the offseason, the team hired Kevin O’Connell as their new QB coach. He has been training Mariota for the combine. As a result, news outlets ran wild speculating they made this move because they want Mariota: in reality O’Connell is a talent who even coached Manziel prior to the draft.
Now, the Josh Gordon suspension is another harsh blow: the young wide receiver, who has shown amazing promise, will be banned from football for at least the 2015 season. But Haslam refuses to cut him at this time, yet feels that Gordon has to recognize his actions and help himself.
“At a certain point in time an individual has to take care of themselves and do what’s right — not just for themselves … but for the team, the coaches, the people in the building, the fans. Josh has failed to accept that responsibility,” he said. “I hope he can get his life together, he’s immensely gifted.” It is smart to keep him for now: they do not have to pay him for the 2015 season and if he gets his life together, they are still paying him a minimum salary in 2016.
And finally, the horribly named text-gate scandal involving Browns GM Ray Farmer. While Haslam denies any inclusion in the scandal, he also sticks up for his GM, “I’ll just say that I don’t think Ray intended to gain any unfair advantage and he’s learned from his mistakes.”
As for the question of firing him, “At the end of the day that’s my decision. I think you have to look at an individual’s body of work. We’re comfortable with Ray’s body of work, very comfortable. Ray’s smart. He works hard. I think he understands football. He’s been in football all his life. He relates extremely well to players. He knows it not only from a personnel standpoint but from the way a game should be run and managed standpoint.”