Browns owner on Johnny Manziel: 'It's way too early to give up on him'

Jimmy Haslam says Johnny Manziel could still help the Browns, if he gets his personal life together

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam told reporters Wednesday that a disastrous first NFL season for Johnny Manziel doesn't mean that all hope is lost for the young quarterback.

"I think it's way too early to give up on Johnny,'' Haslam said. "I do. I think it's way too early to give up on him. We certainly haven't given up on him and if it's two years from now and Johnny hasn't played any, or doesn't have his personal life together, that's different.''

After being drafted by the Browns in the first round last spring, Manziel lost the battle for the starting quarterback job to Brian Hoyer. The former Heisman Trophy winner finally started two games toward the end of the season and was just awful. For the year, he completed 18 of 35 passes for 175 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions for a 42.0 passer rating.

All the while, Johnny Football kept up a high-profile, partying lifestyle. Late last month Manziel checked himself into a treatment facility, with friend and advisor Brad Beckworth saying, "Johnny knows there are areas he needs to improve on to help him be a better family member, friend and teammate."

Haslam said: "We're going to do everything we can to support him. Our primary interest is making sure that he gets well, fixes himself and however long that takes, we're going to stand beside him. And we hope Johnny can get that straightened out because we think he's a really good athlete and can help our team. But the first[thing] he's got to do is get himself fixed.''

But even if he's not yet ready to give up on Manziel, Haslam also isn't ready to speculate on whether the young player will be with the Browns next season.

"We're going to continue to look to find the right person,'' he said. "We understand how important it is. It could be one of the three people that were on our roster last year, it could be somebody else. Do I wish we had [Peyton] Manning or [Tom] Brady? Yeah. Or  [Aaron] Rodgers? Of course. It's ideal if you have the person on your roster. But I'm just going to keep saying this: We're going to keep looking until we find the right person and I'm not saying the right person's not on our roster.''

Twitter: @chewkiii

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