Browns coaches had done all they could to help and support Manziel throughout the year.
His response: Look them in the eye and lie to them, a league source told ESPN.com. And to tell his friends to lie as well, per Fox Sports.
This speaks to deeper issues for not only the Browns' relationship with Manziel, but Manziel himself.
The video alone gave the Browns little option but to take the starting job from the young quarterback. The fact that he then lied about when it was recorded and tried to get others to lie to cover for him makes it more than clear why head coach Mike Pettine was so upset, and why Pettine stressed time and again that the decision was a matter of trust.
A guy is allowed to have fun, but this action by Manziel was an affront. This wasn’t Manziel being caught in the background of someone else’s video, it was Manziel posing, posturing and playing right to the camera.
The last person a team needs trust issues with is its quarterback. He is not only the leader of the team, he is the team’s face. A team has to trust its leader for him to be a leader.
Manziel has made himself a third-teamer without even taking a snap.
The Browns stuck their neck out to support Manziel after a rockier than rocky rookie season. They stood by him when he went through 10 weeks of rehab. They supported him to the brink of coddling after his rehab, all with the noble intention of helping a young man get his life together.
Manziel responded to that support with a string of troubling incidents: He was questioned by police after witnesses reported he was driving 90 mph on the shoulder of a highway while he argued with his girlfriend; social media posts revealed he was partying in College Station, Texas, two days after a Thursday night game in Cincinnati; and now the video from the Austin nightclub during the Browns' bye week.
Were he not to play another down this season, it would make sense. Josh McCown has tried to play with a rib injury that did not allow him to breathe. Austin Davis has done nothing but put in the work needed.
The guys who are truly committed deserve to play.
Manziel has turned into an annoying sideshow that he makes worse with his actions away from the team. He has taken the team to the point where it simply cannot believe what he says.
Consider before the season finale in 2014 when Manziel promised he had to do everything right, then missed the team’s final walkthrough and his treatment because he had been out late the night before.
His words following that incident? The same as the week before, the same as his promise not to do anything embarrassing during this season’s bye week.
They speak loud ... and mean little.
Pettine said trust is lost in buckets and regained in drops.
Manziel, it seems, has lost a watercooler of trust with a team that has gone beyond the extra mile to support him.