COLUMBUS, Ohio – If hype and jersey sales were all it took to make a starting quarterback in the NFL then Johnny Manziel would have the job for the Cleveland Browns but they don’t and – for now – he doesn’t.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam says the team told its first-round draft pick to start acting “like a backup quarterback.”
Haslam praised Manziel, Texas A&M’s electrifying star quarterback, for being an “ultra-competitor” but reiterated that Brian Hoyer is the team’s starting quarterback and “Johnny Football” will have to beat out the veteran in training camp.
Haslam made it clear that Manziel “is not the starter. Johnny’s the backup.”
Haslam says the team was not scared off by the celebrity that comes along with Manziel. He said the Browns told Manziel “this is not Hollywood” and that he’ll have to come to Cleveland ready to work hard.
Haslam also refuted a report the team initially sent in a draft card with Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s name on it.
Haslam told The Associated Press that the report was “crazy” and “nuts.”
Manziel’s jersey was the top-selling jersey at NFLShop.com over the weekend, followed by that of last-round pick Michael Sam. Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted when St. Louis took him late in the seventh round Saturday.
More Johnny Football jerseys have been purchased since April 1 than those of any NFL veteran.
League spokesman Brian McCarthy says NFLShop.com sold nearly as many for Manziel from Thursday to Sunday as it did for Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Tim Tebow combined during their respective draft weekends.