Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Sports

Manziel's partying sends him back to bench

BEREA, Ohio — Dropped from starter to third-stringer, and without playing a game.

Johnny Manziel partied his way out of the lineup during Cleveland's bye week.

Browns coach Mike Pettine benched the polarizing quarterback Tuesday for his off-field behavior, a move that could signal Manziel's days with the team are numbered.

Pettine said former Buc Josh McCown will start Monday night's game against the Ravens in place of Manziel, who was recently handed the starting job but couldn't keep it while the team had a week off.

A video surfaced over the weekend showing Manziel holding a bottle of champagne and rapping profane lyrics last weekend in an Austin, Texas, nightclub. He had promised not to bring any embarrassment to the team during its week off, and he did just that. Pettine, who has been supportive of Manziel in the past, has had enough.

"Everyone in this organization wants what is best for Johnny just like we do for every player in our locker room. I'm especially disappointed in his actions and behavior because he has been working very hard," Pettine said.

"The improvements from last year to this year have been tremendous, but he still has to consistently demonstrate that he has gained a good understanding of what it takes to be successful at the quarterback position on this level. It goes well beyond the field."

Manziel, 22, will not only move back behind McCown, he'll be below Austin Davis on the depth chart.

Pettine met with Manziel after practice and told him he'd be benched for the foreseeable future. Pettine, whose job could be in jeopardy, said owner Jimmy Haslam and general manager Ray Farmer support his decision.

HALL OF FAME: Brett Favre, Terrell Owens and Alan Faneca are among 25 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Former Bucs coach Tony Dungy and safety John Lynch were carryovers from last year's ballot.

BEARS: Running back Matt Forte will be back in action Thursday night after a three-game absence caused by a medial collateral ligament sprain in his right knee. … The team opened a three-week practice window for rookie receiver Kevin White to determine if it will activate him this season. White, the No. 7 pick in this year's draft, has spent the season on the physically unable to perform list because of a stress fracture in his left shin.

BILLS: Starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor should be healthy enough to play Sunday, coach Rex Ryan said. Taylor was hampered by an injury to his right shoulder in the final quarter Monday night.

EAGLES: The team isn't sure or isn't saying who its quarterback will be less than two days before its game against the Lions. Starter Sam Bradford passed through his concussion protocol but is still bothered by a sprained joint in his left (non-throwing) shoulder. Mark Sanchez started Sunday's 45-17 loss to the Bucs. … Offensive tackle Lane Johnson issued an apology after criticizing fans for not being more supportive of the team.

49ERS: As expected, quarterback Colin Kaepernick had surgery to repair extensive damage to the labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. His recovery is expected to take 4-6 months.

PANTHERS: Defensive end Charles Johnson, who suffered a hamstring injury in Week 3, is back on the active roster after spending eight weeks on temporary injured reserve. … The NFL suspended defensive Frank Alexander without pay for at least one year for violating league's substance abuse policy for a third time.

RAMS: Quarterback Case Keenum did not practice while going through the NFL's concussion protocol, but coach Jeff Fisher is hopeful he'll be cleared today.

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Published: 12/13/17