Johnny Manziel is growing tired of all the scrutiny he is facing from the media and former NFL players for his off-the-field antics and addressed those matters over the weekend at the NFL Play 60 event as part of the NFL's Rookie Symposium.
Manziel was the No. 22 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Texas A&M and has become one of the more polarizing figures in sports despite the fact that he has yet to take a snap for the Browns.
Manziel has already had three highly-publicized instances since being drafted that reflect his propensity for partying. Several former-NFL greats as well as members of the media have taken him to task for his lifestyle, and Manziel is growing tired of the criticism.
"I don't think I'm doing anything wrong," Manziel told reporters at the event. "If I want to be with my friends during my free time, I have the right."
Former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith and Joe Montana are among the noteworthy names who have called for Manziel to slow down a little bit and focus on football.
The off-field instances of his lifestyle that have been well-documented are:
- Spending some time whopping it up in Las Vegas in May with New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, also known for his exploits off the field.
- At the X Games in Austin, there is a photograph of Manziel on top of a Giant Swan inflatable with a bottle of champagne in his mouth.
- Most recently, there is an Instagram video of Manziel at a party in Houston using a stack of money as a cell phone.
Manziel is probably doing what any normal person of his age would also be doing. The only issue is that he doesn't seem to have met a cell phone camera that he doesn't like, and at some point, his antics off the field will likely become tiresome to the Cleveland Browns.
"I'm not gonna go to change who I am for anybody. I'm growing up and continuing to learn from my mistakes and trying not to make the same ones over and over again," Manziel said.
"But am I gonnna live in a shell, or am I just going to hide from everybody and not do anything? I don't think that's the way I should live my life and I'm not going to do it. I am here, I am very committed to football, I'm committed to my job, but on the weekends I'm going to enjoy my time off. I mean, I think I deserve it. I'm just like any other rookie out there that they haven't gotten asked about 1,000 times. More than anything, I think they're tired of that. They're tired of the hype, which I am as well."
Coach Mike Pettine, entering his first season as the Browns' coach, is already on the record as saying that he isn't too concerned about Manziel's antics off the field as long as what he is doing isn't illegal.
Manziel says he spends just as much time during the week learning the Browns' playbook in an effort to win the starting quarterback job during training camp from Brian Hoyer, which will open later in July.
"Brian obviously is ahead," Manziel said. "He's been doing this a lot longer than I have. I'm a rookie, and I have a lot of ground to catch up."