BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Johnny Manziel isn’t going to change his lifestyle for anyone – like it or not.
Cleveland’s celebrated rookie quarterback said he’s surprised about the reaction to his weekend trip to Las Vegas. Manziel took advantage in a break from the Browns’ organized team activities to take a well-documented outing to Vegas, where he hung out poolside with Patriots partying tight end Rob Gronkowski, attended a UFC fight and enjoyed the nightlife.
“I don’t really feel that it’s a story,” Manziel said Wednesday following practice, surrounded by reporters and cameras. “It was a little bit of a break for us and I got to enjoy it and relax.”
Manziel is aware of criticism about his decision to leave town. However, he isn’t going to let outsiders dictate how he spends his free time.
“I don’t live my life according to you guys or according to what other people think of me,” he said. “I’m going to live my life to the fullest and continue to be committed to this game and committed to what I need to be doing here, and trying to earn my place in this locker room and with these coaches and this organization.
“If I want to go out and have some fun and it doesn’t hinder what my main goals in life are, then I really don’t care what anyone has to say.”
Browns first-year coach Mike Pettine said Manziel’s trip was “a non-issue” for the team, adding he will not micromanage players outside the building. Pettine said Manziel, who was drafted in the first round last month, informed the team of his weekend plans before leaving town.
“My advice to him was to have fun,” Pettine said. “He’s a young guy. He’s done everything that we’ve asked. The playbook has not been an issue for him. So I know a big deal was made of it, but internally we have an expectation for all of our players outside of the building to act a certain way, and it’s really a non-issue.
“Just like everyone else, he’s a man and we’re going to treat our guys like that until they prove they need to be treated otherwise.”
Manziel said he has grown accustomed to being the center of attention anywhere he goes.
“It’s been life for so long now, I don’t really know what it could be like any other way,” he said. “I can’t think back to the days of how it was when I didn’t have people tweeting or taking pictures of wherever I was – and not in a way that I have a big head or anything like that. It’s just how things are, wherever I want to go people are taking pictures and think I’m doing something wild when I’m just living a normal life.”