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Browns still searching for starting QB

INDIANAPOLIS -- Despite an open acknowledgment that the Cleveland Browns are searching for quarterback help with or without Johnny Manziel, coach Mike Pettine said the organization is proud of the former Heisman Trophy winner for seeking treatment.

Pettine also admitted that Manziel might be facing serious issues that the Browns did not know about when they selected him in the first round of last year's draft.

"We had the same information everyone else in the league had," Pettine said. "It's easy to look back now and say, 'What did you miss?' You can interpret something a little bit differently now and it turns out to be a deeper-rooted thing than you thought."

Pettine, speaking Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine, confirmed an ESPN report that Manziel voluntarily entered treatment on Jan. 28 and wasn't forced by the team to do so.

"I just wanted to go visit him and see how he's doing, let him know that we're proud of him for the decision he made to go in," Pettine said. "Obviously he has our full support. ... He stepped up and said, 'I need help.'"

The Browns still don't have a firm idea when Manziel will return to the team, Pettine said, as treatment is a delicate process and can be lengthy.

The Browns are using the combine to evaluate quarterback options. The team isn't moving on from Manziel but clearly must address the position, either via free agency or the draft. Re-signing Brian Hoyer is among popular topics among Browns' brass, Pettine said.

"I'd be a lot more concerned if we had a game this Sunday," Pettine said.

Pettine isn't divulging the nature of his discussion with Manziel but points out, "He's in a much better place now than before he went in. He's very determined to come out of it in a much better way."

Manziel entered treatment to "figure out his value system," a source said on Feb. 3, suggesting Manziel knows the quarterback life and the Johnny Football persona can't co-exist. Manziel did not look ready to play in his two NFL starts, completing 13-of-26 passes for 112 yards and two interceptions.

Asked about Manziel's tipping point, Pettine said that's difficult to pinpoint but acknowledged Manziel struggled after hurting his hamstring in Week 16, leading to a missed treatment session the next week after a night of partying and posting several offseason pictures on Instagram from evenings out in Aspen, Houston and Miami.

"As we were getting into discussions on each player at the end of the year and the best path moving forward, he decided to put himself in," Pettine said. "I'm sure something occurred. I personally don't know what that exact point was."