Brian Hoyer wins Browns starting job over Johnny Manziel

Veteran Brian Hoyer gets nod over big-name rookie Johnny Manziel as Browns' starting quarterback

The Cleveland Browns are ending the suspense early: Brian Hoyer is their starting quarterback, not rookie Johnny Manziel.

The Browns made the announcement Wednesday morning, awarding the job to the five-year veteran who battled back from an ACL injury that ended his 2013 season last October.

“He was the clear leader from the beginning,” Browns Coach Mike Pettine said of Hoyer, according to “We’ve maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with the more experienced player. Brian has done a great job in the meeting rooms and with his teammates on the practice field and in the locker room.”

Hoyer’s performance in Monday night’s loss to Washington was far from overwhelming: He completed two of six passes for 16 yards. Pettine said he based the decision on Hoyer’s “body of work,” including him guiding Cleveland to victories in the two full games in which he played last season.

The Browns are set to open at Pittsburgh on Sept. 7 and have their bye in Week 4, possibly a natural break to make the transition to Manziel.

Although Manziel’s most memorable moment in Monday’s game was raising his middle finger to the Redskins, Pettine praised his performance in training camp.

“He’s certainly made great strides,” the coach said. “We are pleased with where he is, and he has shown that he has come a long way in his ability to pick up the playbook, be coachable and lead an offense. We are confident that Johnny is going to have a great future, but we just felt that Brian still had a decided edge on him.”

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