There were great hopes for the Cleveland Browns to have a good season this year but some of the Browns’ players, namely Johnny Manziel, Josh Gordon and Justin Gilbert, aren’t stepping up their games, causing many to wonder if these three Browns’ players will be fading to black.
It was a wild, chaotic weekend for the Browns due to these three. Thanks to a Friday party thrown by “Johnny Football” Manziel and attended by some members of the Cleveland Browns, not all is happy with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam. He has sent a warning to his team via the Akron Beacon Journal that the young players need to be more professional. He also sent an in-your-face threat to cut players if they don’t clean up their acts.
After the team’s season-ending loss to Baltimore yesterday, Haslam said “I think [football] is the ultimate team game and I think a player who can’t show up for meetings, can’t make practice, can’t make weight lifting, disrespects himself.” He also said that “… more importantly, and I think this is what these young guys miss – they disrespect the team, the coaches, the staff, the fans.”
Haslam also reminded his players that “There’s a lot of people in our organization whose livelihood depends on how well we do, and we’re not going to tolerate people who are irresponsible no matter what round they’re drafted in.” All this is surely in reference to Manziel, Gordon and Gilbert.
Rookie Justin Gilbert, an eighth round pick overall has had what many (including some of his veteran teammates) say has been a “wasted year.” The Browns’ cornerback has not been able to get his game together on the field, he has a lousy attitude and he’s often been late to team meetings. After he missed Friday evening’s team meeting, he was deactivated for Sunday’s game against the Ravens.
But back to Friday’s party thrown by Manziel. One of the players who attended was receiver Josh Gordon who wound up suspended on Saturday for a violation of team rules – missing a team walk-through Saturday morning, being late onto the practice field on Friday and wearing teammate Travis Benjamin’s jersey for the outdoor workout. This just caps a truly disappointing year for Gordon.
Suspended last year for the first two games, he still managed to lead the NFL with 1,646 yards receiving. But serving a 10-game ban early in this season due to repeated drug violations, he’s only racked up 303 yards receiving and even ran the wrong pass routes for starting QB Brian Hoyer. Gordon’s only been active for five games in the 2014 season, making him one game short of the required games for an accrued season — that ultimately makes him a restricted free agent after the 2015 season instead of preferred non-restricted status.
And now for party-thrower, Manziel. His overall performance his rookie year isn’t the brilliant one the Browns expected when they drafted him. After warming the bench for a portion of the season, as the starter in Week 16 against Carolina he wound up on the Browns’ injured reserve list with a hamstring injury.
Throughout the season he’s been criticized by many for acting like he’s still a college player. Now, just days after acknowledging that he needed to take his NFL career more seriously, the party boy didn’t show up for the Saturday morning walkthrough nor was he on time for his treatment – he was required to be present for one or the other. And when he didn’t show, Browns’ security went to his home Saturday morning to search for him, earning him a fine. A source close to the team told ESPN that they had trouble locating both Manziel and Gordon.
It will be interesting to see what next year brings. In addition to Haslam’s warning, a number of Browns players have been very clear about wanting everyone to all be heading in the same direction for next season. “I’ve been assured that we are going to bring guys in and get guys off this bus that don’t really want to be here and do what they are supposed to do,” according to veteran safety Donte Whitner.