Report: Johnny Manziel could start for Browns as early as next weekend

By Jesse Reed

Johnny Manziel lost his starting job with the Cleveland Browns after a two-day drinking binge and then lying about his activities to the organization, but he could reportedly be back again next weekend.

Manziel is a polarizing figure in America these days. Many NFL fans think the Cleveland Browns should give the second-year quarterback the keys to the offense, regardless of his off-field infamy. Others believe he has too much growing up to do for the team to trust him with the responsibility of being the face of the franchise.

Apparently he’s just as polarizing within the Cleveland Browns organization. It’s beginning to look like head coach Mike Pettine, who admitted this week he could be coaching for his job, could be alone in his determination to keep Johnny Football sidelined.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network provides some perspective, via Connor Orr of NFL.com: “…some with knowledge of the team’s thinking wondering: Is Pettine simply trying to ‘exert his presence,’ and prove he’s in charge?”

Per Rapoport, Manziel might not be grounded for much longer and could reportedly start again as soon as Week 14 against the San Francisco 49ers, depending on how Austin Davis performs Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

It’s likely Davis is going to struggle against Cincinnati, as most quarterbacks this year have run into trouble against the tough AFC North squad. While he did look solid in reserve last weekend when McCown went down, it’s important to point out he did so against a Baltimore defense that hasn’t stopped anyone this year.

Therefore, it’s logical to assume Browns fans will once again see Manziel behind center before too long. And, if Pettine tries to block this from happening, then it’s not a big jump to think he could be a goner as the Browns, desperate for success, look for a head coach who will develop the young quarterback, rather than keep him in the dog house.