Hue Jackson gave another hint as to the future of the embattled Johnny Manziel, it all points to one direction: the 23-year-olds tenure in Cleveland has come to an end. During an interview with Jason Cole and Ty Schalter of Bleacher Report on Sunday, Jackson said that if Manziel was indeed in Las Vegas during the season finale, that would make him a “non-starter” on his team.
“Yes, it would be (a non-starter),” Jackson said. “Anytime things are not done the correct way with any player at any position, it would be a non-starter with me.”
The Browns possess the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and could use that pick to get a new quarterback, possibly Cal product Jared Goff, or Memphis standout Paxton Lynch. Either way, Manziel is not on Jackson’s good side currently.
“If there is a quarterback there at pick No. 2 or pick No. 32 that we feel is the best option, the best fit for our organization, for our football team, then we need to go get him,” he said. “I do believe that this team does need a quarterback.”
According to USA TODAY, Manziel was spotted in Las Vegas the night before the season finale, drinking, dining and gambling at Planet Hollywood. His presence was verified when Manziel’s ID was inspected by a casino employee at a blackjack table—the original story was brought to you by byteclay.com here. When the news broke, Manziel posted a picture to his Instagram account which showed him laying on his living room floor alongside his dog with the hashtag, “SaturdayNights.” It was later reported that Manziel attempted to mask his identity by donning a blond wig and a fake mustache.
That Saturday, he was scheduled to be at the team facility to undergo treatment for a concussion he sustained the week prior—he was a no-show for the treatment, and at the facility on the day of the season finale loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Further, now-fired head coach Mike Pettine said during the postgame that he, nor any other member of the organization, had been able to make contact with Manziel.
All these things considered, Jackson hinted in the loudest possible way yet that Manziel is done, and showed appreciation for the efforts of Josh McCown’s play last season.
“I think what we need to do is look to the future and find what we think is going to be the best fit for us and go from there,” he said.
“Now, whether it was health issues or whatever it was last year, the position didn’t play great,” Jackson said. “Josh McCown played great when he was healthy and did some really good things. But we also know that he’s getting up there age-wise. This guy’s very competitive and done a great job (but it’s time to look to the future).”
The most important trait Jackson looks for in his players? Character.
“There’s criteria that we’re going to look at to determine if the players really need to be here or if they’ve earned the right to be here to be considered a Cleveland Brown,” Jackson said.
The new league year begins in March, then, the Browns can attempt to trade, or cut Manziel.
David Barclay is an NFL Insider for byteclay.com. E-mail: email@example.com Twitter: @DJamesIII