Run out town – Manziel gone after less than two years

“My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!”
-Edna St. Vincent Millay

After just under two tumultuous years, Johnny Manziel’s tenure in Cleveland is finally over, and I don’t think anyone will be shedding any tears over it. The Browns have had 24 quarterbacks since they returned to Cleveland but Manziel has arguably been the worst. Everyone knew that there was a bit of risk in taking Manziel but no one could have predicted such disregard by Manziel for his own career because right now Manziel is untouchable.

Manziel getting drafted at #22, the same number as fellow busts Brady Quinn and Brandon Weeden

Manziel came in looking like a maverick, promising those who didn’t draft him would regret it for years to come and looking like the biggest star to enter the league since Michael Vick. The Browns passed on him once to Justin Gilbert, which looks almost as bad now, but made sure they got him the second time around. This despite their $100,000 study telling them that Teddy Bridgewater was the best quarterback to draft. I felt strongly at the time that Bridgewater was the right option and everything that has happened since has has only made it clearer. How was a 5’10” QB who relied so heavily on improvisation going to be the long term answer? That’s before you even consider the off field questions.

Before his first season we were told that Manziel had what it took to start straight away and would be competing for the starting job with Brian Hoyer. In the end Hoyer won the job and we didn’t get to see Manziel until week 13 in Buffalo and when we did it was electric for his one drive. Arguably that was the highlight of his career because it never got as good as that again with a rude awakening for Manziel at Cincinnati.


Johnny Manziel living it up in Austin after getting drafted by the Browns

Then during the off-season, the surprising news that Manziel was voluntarily entering rehab to get treatment. It looked like a positive step and Manziel came back more mature promising to improve and retiring his Money persona. There was some positive steps in play after Josh McCown went down but as soon as he lost the starting job he reverted back to his old play boy antics including partying in Vegas during the season and not telling the team. By the end, his position just became untenable as his impact on the team because of his off field antics meant that until he matured and sorted out his personal life once and for all he couldn’t play again in the NFL and was finished in Cleveland.

That was before things started getting really ugly with his recent legal troubles. After a domestic dispute with his girlfriend Colleen Crowley, a police helicopter had to be used to try and locate Manziel. Crowley had her eardrum ruptured after Manziel had reported hit her and still has yet to reach court. In the end Manziel became an embarrassment to the Browns and became the very antithesis of what the Browns stand for. Fans had turned on him and he became a hate figure in Cleveland. On Wednesday the Browns finally waived Manziel and no one claimed him, so for now his NFL career is over.

In many ways the story of Johnny Manziel reminds a little of Amy Winehouse’s. Manziel like Winehouse had two spectacular editions which broke all records and by the time most of America knew them their best was behind them and they began to become defined by their partying. On a human level I hope that Manziel unlike Winehouse can get the help he needs and utilise the immense talent he has.


Braxton Miller is switching to receiver


Braxton Miller announced yesterday via an article on SI that he will be playing a different role next season for the Buckeyes, H-Back/WR. The move first started gathering momentum after Miller mentioned it to Urban Meyer in April and they started to watch film of great receivers together. The switch will play to Miller’s strengths though with him being a bigger threat with running than he was passing and having 4.3 40 speed. Miller who still hasn’t fully recovered from a labrum injury on his throwing shoulder that he originally suffered at the 2014 Orange Bowl but reinjured last season in fall camp, will be splitting his time 80-20 with the receivers and quarterbacks. The move will help to avoid more damage being done to the shoulder and will also help to improve his NFL prospects. Miller has already been practicing running routes and catching passes with JT Barrett after training. The role Miller will likely see is similar to Percy Harvin’s when Meyer was at Florida with plenty of screens and pitches with the possibility of some trick plays with Miller throwing. The move also means that the quarterback competition is now down to two with Cardale Jones still having a slight edge in my eyes.

Tashaun Gipson signs RFA tender, is it a good or a bad sign?

FS Tashaun Gipson will sign his restricted free agent tender on Monday and be in Cleveland on Tuesday to join up with the rest of the Browns for OTAs. Gipson had already skipped voluntary workouts and stayed at home in Texas in the hopes of getting a new long term contract worked out with the Browns. Gipson was reportedly upset that the Browns had only put a second round tender on him rather a first round tender which saved them around $650,000. The reason Gipson decided to resign now was that if he didn’t by Tuesday the Browns would have had the option of decreasing the tender to 110% of Gipson 2014 or $660,000. Obviously resigning Gipson for at least one more season is a good thing after his breakout season but I can’t help wondering if it is a good or a bad thing?


Tashaun Gipson returns one of his 11 interceptions over the last two seasons – second only to Richard Sherman

It could be a good sign because it’s shows that he wants to be in Cleveland and is willing to work out a deal before or during the season. Rather than holding out through the rest of the OTAs and into training camp, he has decided to come back and help the Browns improve from last season. It also shows he doesn’t absolutely despise Cleveland and want to get out of here and there’s been no links with him to any other team either despite having the option to negotiate like Alex Mack did last year. This can only be seen as a positive in my eyes and shows how to Gipson wants to stay a part of one the best secondaries in the league.

I feel a little uneasy about as well because it’s only a one year deal. To see Gipson leave as he reaches his peak because the Browns won’t pay him when the Browns have one of the best situations in the league would very disheartening especially given how he has repaid the faith the Browns placed in him when they gave him a contract as an undrafted free agent and become a top 5 player at his position. To lose their Pro Bowl Free Safety would be a massive blow to Mike Pettine and his defence. While I understand that holding out is one of the few pieces of leverage a player has it still concerns me considering it has been about three months since the Browns offered the tender to Gipson and there must be a fundamental difference in how much Gipson should get paid. Gipson would probably be aiming at deal similar to Devin McCourty’s 5 year $45 million deal and I would be inclined to agree with him. GM Ray Farmer might be wary of giving such a deal though and might be thinking closer to $30/35 million over 5 years.

Although I do think that Gipson will get a new deal in Cleveland and will be here to stay, I think he may play out the tender to put pressure on the Browns to pay him.

Change of venue but college football will return to Ireland in 2016

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and U.S. ambassador Kevin O’Malley at the launch of the Aer Lingus Classic

Despite the GAA announcing earlier that the game was cancelled and won’t be on this year, Boston College and Georgia Tech will play in Dublin in 2016 but in the Aviva Stadium rather than in GAA headquarters. The announcement was made with the sponsorship of Aer Lingus and additional government funding. This will be the third time in five years that college football has come to Dublin. Boston College will the home team with the Eagles already having a campus in Dublin. The game will kick off at 12.30(7.30 ET) on September 3.

The game counts as one of Boston College four conference home games. Georgia Tech leads the series 6-2 and just came off an Orange Bowl victory for the first time in 63 years.