Johnny Manziel: Not frustrated, just where I need to be

BEREA, Ohio -- Competitor who wants to play? Sure.

Frustrated with his backup role? Johnny Manziel won't go there.

Two days after Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine said he could sense frustration from his first-round pick because of his competitive nature, an introspective Manziel sounded appreciative of the chance to play the background.

"I'm sure there are signs of this being a different situation for me," said Manziel, who's gone from Texas A&M star quarterback to running scout team reps as a rookie. "I don't feel frustrated. Obviously being a competitor I want to play, but there is a difference."

Manziel is sitting behind Brian Hoyer, who's 4-3 as the starter, but still garners attention because of the hype surrounding his Heisman Trophy-winning career at Texas A&M, the contingent of Browns fans that wants to see him play and the interest in his personal life fueled by social media.

Manziel doesn't seems interested in feeding that beast right now.

"No focus, no attention needs to be really placed on me," Manziel said. "I'm doing little things to try to help this team get better throughout the week, but when it comes to Sundays, obviously I'm not out there directly contributing ... I think I'm just where I need to be and kind of falling back a little bit is good for me and I like it."

Completely falling out of the spotlight seems far-fetched. He's a topic around here. But Manziel is doing his best to redirect energy to a team playing well, with a good chance to go 5-3 on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Sitting has reinforced Manziel's desire to play quality NFL football but also reminds him of training camp -- when he had a chance to win the job.

"I think I'm still extremely hungry," Manziel said. "I still feel, obviously coming out of training camp, I was disappointed and I wanted to play better. At the same time I am a rookie and I can't be too hard on myself. I remember thinking back to the days I was learning the offense at A&M, it was frustrating. It's like that for everybody coming into a new system and a new place a long way from home. There are a lot of things that were going on in my life where now I'm settled in and a lot more comfortable with everything that's going on on a daily basis."

Rookie left guard Joel Bitonio rooms with Manziel on the road and has noticed a player who's serious about his football. Whether breaking down college games on Saturdays or lifting weights early in the week, Manziel is always intentional, Bitonio said.

"He seems like he wants to be good at it," Bitonio said. "You can tell he wants to be a good football player in the NFL. He's been putting in the work in the weight room. You can tell, the day after the game he hasn't played but he comes in and works his tail off in the weight room, trying to stay in shape in case he has to play."

This could be an example of Manziel working to quash the perceptions that surround him, fair or not. His goal, he said, is not to burden teammates with any off-field distractions. He admits he's a "reserved guy" in the locker room.

"When I'm here in the building is a lot different for me than life outside away from the building," Manziel said. "I feel at times the people think I'm always going, always doing this -- that's not always the case. It just always seems to get out that way and you hear about it. ... The thing I've tried to do since I got here is to let these guys know it's not all it's chalked up to be and it's not all the hype that it is. If you ask guys here, they'd say that's been the case."