Browns QB Johnny Manziel: ‘I’m just a rookie’

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BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Johnny stretched. Johnny ran. Johnny passed. Johnny talked.

With all eyes - well, at least the ones allowed to watch him - on quarterback Johnny Manziel, the most hyped college player to enter the NFL in years took his first steps with the Browns, who haven’t promised Johnny Football anything other than a chance to win a starting job.

And that’s cool with him.

“I’m a rookie,” Manziel said. “I need to earn my place. I need to earn my keep. Nothing here needs to be handed to me. I don’t need to be treated based off what I did in the past, because that doesn’t mean a thing at this level.”

The former Texas A&M; quarterback, who oozes swagger every moment he’s on the field, is participating in Cleveland’s rookie minicamp this weekend along with its other draft picks and unsigned free agents. Browns first-year coach Mike Pettine restricted access to Saturday’s workout, which was held inside because of rainy weather, to local media members. Sunday’s practice is closed.

Pettine was on the Jets’ coaching staff when popular quarterback Tim Tebow joined the team and wants to control “Manzielmania” as best he can.

“We’re well aware of the persona. We’re well aware of what it brings,” Pettine said. “We’re excited about it. It’s something that we’re very willing to have come here, knowing that he has a chance to make us a better football team and a better franchise.”

Pettine added that he knows the decision to limit access will “ruffle some feathers.”

“I’ll apologize in advance for that, but what we’re tasked as a staff to do is do what’s best for the football team,” he said.

Wearing a red No. 2 jersey, Manziel stretched with his teammates as Jay-Z’s “Public Service Announcement” boomed through the speakers in the field house. With Browns owner Jimmy Haslam on the sideline, Manziel made a few handoffs and threw three short passes before the session was closed after 15 minutes.

Manziel later answered questions for 10 minutes before the interview was stopped by a member of the team’s media relations staff.

Manziel tried to clear up one story about how he wound up with the Browns, whose long-suffering fans hope his arrival can turn around their woeful franchise. Cleveland passed on him earlier in the draft before trading up to take him at No. 22.

On Thursday, quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains revealed during a radio interview that Manziel sent him a text message during last week’s draft, urging the team to pick him. Loggains claimed the text read: “Hurry up and draft me because I want to wreck this league together.”

Manziel confirmed he exchanged texts with Loggains, but said the one in which he claimed he would “wreck this league” may have been exaggerated.

“I don’t know if that’s exactly word for word,” he said. “It was something along those lines.”

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