The Cleveland Browns are apparently very much so in the Johnny Manziel business.
Cleveland was first linked with the Texas A&M star known as Johnny Football all the way back in September when Peter King mentioned that the Browns were actively scouting Manziel. Rumors and speculation have only grown from there, and the Browns aren't doing anything to silence the talk.
In fact, those in the team's front office have no problem with everybody knowing that Johnny Football is on Cleveland's radar.
Now comes the obvious question that must be asked: What does new Cleveland head coach Mike Pettine think of Manziel? The Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator up until about 3:00 pm ET on Thursday may have had no opinion of Johnny Football a few days ago, but that's going to have to change and quick.
Regardless of who Pettine and company choose to make up the offensive portion of the coaching staff, it's going to be the head coach who selects the starting quarterback for Week 1 of the regular season. Pettine's decision will have, in theory, already been made for him if the Browns go ahead and trade up to three first round picks (No. 4 and No. 26 overall in 2014 and the team's 2015 first round selection) in order to move into a position that would allow the team take Manziel.
You don't go all-in on a QB in May only to sit him in September, after all, and that's especially true for Johnny Football.
It's possible, maybe even likely, that the Browns' brass and Pettine came to an agreement regarding Manziel during discussions that occurred over the past week. Things change rather quickly in the NFL, though, and it's Pettine who will have the final say on such matters on game day.
While it's worth noting that not everybody within the Cleveland fan base is sold on the to-be rookie QB, there are plenty in that group who want to see Johnny Football hold up a Browns jersey on night one of the draft. Manziel is a special kind of star that doesn't come around every year, the type of celebrity followed around by TMZ and one that attracts national news.
Both the Browns and the city of Cleveland need an injection of confidence and swagger, and Manziel has plenty of both. Whether or not he can win on Sundays has yet to be determined, but one thing has been made clear by the reactions of more than a few within the team's fan base:
Pettine and those in the front office will have some serious explaining to do if they pass on Johnny Football.
The Browns have been a losing franchise since the end of the 2007, and the team hasn't won a single playoff game in two decades. You'll have to excuse some Cleveland fans for wanting a bit of sizzle to go along with the steak has been a fatty and overcooked mess since the franchise darted off to Baltimore.
No disrespect meant to Mr. Pettine, but he is a far cry from the big hire fans were hoping for after Rob Chudzinski was unceremoniously shown the door eleven months into his stint as Browns head coach. Pettine also shouldn't be banking on Brian Hoyer, who looked good in all of two games last season before he tore his ACL, leading the offense next fall. The Browns are set to take a rookie quarterback in the upcoming draft, and that QB could very well be the biggest sports sensation to hit North America this calendar year.
Pettine has about three and a half months to become Manziel's number one fan if that is, in fact, the direction the Browns are headed.