BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Johnny Football is finally playing football.
Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel, the most hyped player to enter the NFL in years, is participating in his first workouts as a pro this weekend, just a week after he was selected by Cleveland in the first round of the NFL draft.
With Browns owner Jimmy Haslam on the field watching his every move, Manziel threw three short passes to running backs during the 15-minute period the session was open to the media.
The workout for Cleveland’s draft picks and undrafted free agents was limited to local reporters and photographers Saturday. The Browns barred national media members and are limiting access to try to calm the hype around Manziel, the former Texas A&M star who the Heisman Trophy as a freshman with the Aggies.
Sunday’s practice is closed.
Manziel did stretching exercises along with his teammates as Jay-Z’s “Public Service Announcement” boomed through the speakers in the Browns’ indoor field house. Light rain and wet fields forced the Browns to practice inside.
Manziel is expected to answer questions after the workout, and there will be a ton of them.
On Thursday, Browns quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains revealed that Manziel sent a text message to the Browns during last week’s draft, urging the team to pick him. As he slid further in the first round, Manziel reached out to the Browns with a text that Loggains said read: “I wish you guys would come get me. Hurry up and draft me because I want to wreck this league together.”
Loggains said he forwarded the message to first-year coach Mike Pettine and Haslam, who said, “Pull the trigger. We’re trading up to go get this guy.”
The Browns, who passed on Manziel earlier in the first round, moved from No. 26 to No. 22 and picked Manziel.
Earlier this week, Haslam said Pettine has told Manziel not to expect any preferential treatment, and that if he wants to start he’s going to have to beat out Brian Hoyer, who made three starts last year before a knee injury ended his season.