Browns name Austin Davis, not Johnny Manziel, as starter Sunday vs. Bengals

Johnny Manziel, Austin Davis

Cleveland quarterbacks Johnny Manziel, right, and Austin Davis talk during a game against  Baltimore on Monday night.

(David Richard / Associated Press)

The Cleveland Browns have named a starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against Cincinnati -- and it’s not Johnny Manziel.

Austin Davis gets the nod in place of Josh McCown, who was placed on injured reserve Wednesday after breaking his collarbone Monday night against Baltimore. Davis was McCown’s backup going into that game, with Manziel third on the depth chart.

For most teams, it would seem normal that the No. 2 quarterback takes over when the starter goes down. But these are the Browns we’re talking about. Nothing ever seems normal with them.

Coach Mike Pettine named Manziel the full-time starter over McCown after the former Heisman Trophy winner gave a strong performance against Pittsburgh on Nov. 15. But then Manziel was allegedly caught partying during the Browns’ bye week, then reportedly tried to lie to his coaches about it.


So last week Pettine demoted Manziel all the way down to No. 3 quarterback, saying he violated the team’s trust. And the coach appears to be sticking to his guns. When McCown got hurt late in the fourth quarter on Monday, Davis came in and led the Browns to a game-tying touchdown.

And while Manziel may (or may not) still be Cleveland’s quarterback of the future, Davis is the quarterback of the moment.

“Austin took advantage of his opportunity on Monday night. He was prepared, played well and put us in position to win,” Pettine said Wednesday of Davis, who will be making his ninth NFL start and first for the Browns. “He’s been great in the quarterback room all season and he has earned the right to start on Sunday. We expect him to play well.”

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