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Browns' Mike Pettine on benching Johnny Manziel: He violated our trust

Browns' Mike Pettine on benching Johnny Manziel: He violated our trust
Cleveland quarterback Johnny Manziel plays against the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Nov. 15. (Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press)

Johnny Manziel violated the Cleveland Browns trust by going out and partying last week, and that's why he's been demoted from first- to third-string quarterback, Coach Mike Pettine told reporters Wednesday.

Pettine said he and the front office agreed that benching the young quarterback was the right thing to do, but that they never considered cutting Manziel after a video of him apparently drinking at an Austin nightclub surfaced on social media.

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When asked if this signaled the end of the road for Manziel in Cleveland, Pettine said: "We certainly hope not. He's made progress. We told him, 'This isn't a dead end. It's a hurdle.'''

Still, the Browns are going to have a tough time seeing just what they have in the second-year player while he's standing on the sideline. "But this was too important,'' Pettine said, to take anything else into consideration, adding that the move was "absolutely necessary to maximize his chance for future success.''

As a rookie last year, Manziel was known more his partying ways off the field than any kind of success on it. He spent 10 weeks in a treatment facility during the off-season and made an effort to keep a more low-key image.

Manziel also made strides on the football field, performing so well in place of injured starter Josh McCown against Pittsburgh on Nov. 15 that he was named the starting quarterback soon after. The Browns then had their bye week. Pettine said Manziel understood that he was expected to behave in a responsible manner during his time off.

"I think that was made reasonably clear to him," Pettine said.

The coach added: "He violated that trust."

So now the former Heisman Trophy winner finds himself behind McCown and Austin Davis on the Browns depth chart.

"This is a healthy dose of adversity," Pettine said. "Let's see how he handles it.''

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