Early Tuesday, Cleveland Browns Executive Vice President, Sashi Brown released a statement regarding the status of quarterback Johnny Manziel. It read:
"We've been clear about expectations for our players on and off the field. Johnny's continual involvement in incidents that run counter to those expectations undermines the hard work of his teammates and the reputation of our organization.
His status with our team will be addressed when permitted by league rules. We will have no further comment at this time."
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Tony Rizzo, Host of WKNR 850 AM's The Really Big Show simply responded, "He's gone.".
There are two important dates ahead. February 8 and March 9. February 8th is the first day teams are permitted, by NFL rules, to release players from the roster. March 9th begins the NFL's new year and increased salary cap.
For the Browns, the difference between the two dates is $4.6 million. Should the Browns release Manziel on February 8th, they would take the $4.6 million hit to the salary cap. Waiting until March 9th, saves them the $4.6 million.
ESPN.com's Pat McManamon reports that the Browns will wait until March 9th to release Manziel. Others question if the timing of the statement by Brown suggests the Browns will take the hit and get Manziel and his side show as far away from Cleveland as they can, as quickly as they can.
"His status with our team will be addressed when permitted by league rules." is the statement that could suggest an early release of Manziel.
The Browns have done everything right since the last game of the season on January 3rd.
They promptly fired GM Ray Farmer and Head Coach Mike Pettine following the game. Two days later, on January 5th, they announced the hiring of Paul DePodesta and promotion of Sashi Brown.
A week later, they hired the top coach on their board in Hue Jackson. Jackson began hiring his staff and last week the Browns hired Andrew Berry as Vice President of Player Personnel. All of the moves applauded by national media and around the NFL.
Owner Jimmy Haslam, Brown and Jackson have been outspoken about finding the right people and "Getting this right". Which may suggest that waiting a month and saving $4.6 million is the best option for the Browns.
Either way, the Browns front office is finally making news the right way. They have given the correct answers in interviews but yesterday's statement was surprising to fans as it was not a coached answer that really said nothing. It was a clear and concise statement letting the world know that Manziel would no longer embarrass the organization, the players, the city or the fans.
As for Manziel, unconfirmed twitter reports claim Manziel says the Rams, Chiefs and Cowboys are interested in him. The question is, are they interested in his play, or his side show? The reality is, no one should be interested in Manziel until he cleans up personal issues.
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