By Nick Shook | NFL.com
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CLEVELAND — While some of his most notable teammates were parading on a stage in fancy new duds, Johnny Manziel was more than one thousand miles away in Arlington, Texas, at a Texas Rangers game.
That didn’t keep his name out of questions asked after the uniform reveal at the Cleveland Convention Center on Tuesday night.
Recently released from rehab, Manziel is expected to participate in the team’s organized team activities that begin next week. It will be during then that he will also attempt to earn his teammates’ trust. But is it necessary?
“I would say yes to that,” Browns safety Donte Whitner said. “I would think that he would say yes to that, but the thing is, we commend him for what he did. Nobody knew the actual things that were going on in his life but him and his family. So I commend him to be so young and take the initiative and do what he did.
“It can only help him as a person first and foremost, and then as a football player. I believe that he’ll come in, he’ll earn our trust back, he’s that type of guy, he’ll have to compete for his job and I believe he’ll be up for that challenge.”
The offseason includes workouts that are considered voluntary in name, but not necessarily in reality. Browns left tackle Joe Thomas, one of the team’s longest-tenured veterans and biggest influences, maintains it’s not what Manziel, or any player, does during the offseason, but how he performs during the season.
“It takes a different level of commitment than any other position,” Thomas said of the quarterback position. “(Offseason activities are) part of the journey, but in the end it’s what you do during the season.”
Thomas downplayed the question of if Manziel is a distraction in the most simple of terms.
“From what?” Thomas asked. “We’re not doing anything right now! (The uniform reveal) is the only thing I’ve had all offseason.”
That will change for Thomas, Whitner and Manziel next week.