According to a source close to the situation, the topic of Manziel was discussed at length in meetings between Jackson and Browns ownership. In those discussions, Jackson indicated that he would prefer the organization move on from Manziel if he were to become coach, and he was told that would not be a problem.
The Browns announced Jackson's hiring on Wednesday.
When asked about Manziel at his introductory news conference later Wednesday, Jackson said, "I need to get in this building and have an opportunity to sit down and watch tape. I don't know Johnny personally. I know who he is, but at the same time I think I have to give everybody on our football team the fair opportunity to see who they are, to truly learn who they are and then make decisions from there."
Jackson said Manziel was discussed during his interviews, but said he was not in Cleveland to judge Manziel's off-the-field incidents and has yet to judge him as a player. Jackson said he has to see whether every player is a right fit for the Browns, listing attributes such as integrity, accountability, passion and work ethic as paramount among his beliefs.
Asked about the number of Manziel's off-the-field incidents, Jackson said: "I wasn't here to be a part of that. So obviously I can't speak to any of those [incidents]. I think what's important is that I evaluate him as a football player and then find out more about those things moving forward."
The Browns have not been happy with Manziel since he missed the season finale and a scheduled assessment of his season-ending concussion.
The team believes Manziel was in Las Vegas that weekend, as USA Today reported, and though owner Jimmy Haslam would not commit firmly, the team did not concern itself with its quarterback once the season ended.
That was a sure sign the Browns intended to move on.
The decision remaining is whether to try to trade Manziel or to simply cut him when the waiver period begins after the Super Bowl.