Browns tired of quarterback Johnny Manziel’s antics

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CLEVELAND — The Browns are about to throw Johnny Football away.

The team issued a strong statement Tuesday, condemning quarterback Johnny Manziel‘s actions and pointing to his release in March, a move that has seemed inevitable for months.

The conduct by the 23-year-old player – rampant partying, two domestic incidents and a general lack of commitment – have been a major problem almost from the day Cleveland drafted the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner in the first round two years ago.

Last weekend, Manziel was involved in a disturbance with his ex-girlfriend in Dallas that is being investigated by police and the NFL.

“We’ve been clear about expectations for our players on and off the field,” said Sashi Brown, the team’s vice president of football operations. “Johnny’s continual involvement in incidents that run counter to those expectations undermines the hard work of his teammates and the reputation of our organization. His status with our team will be addressed when permitted by league rules.”

The Browns, who drafted Manziel with the No. 22 overall pick in the 2014 draft, can release him as early as Monday, the day after the Super Bowl. But salary-cap implications point to the move happening March 9, when the league’s new year begins.

The expected end to his run in Cleveland will conclude two turbulent seasons for the electrifying college star known as Johnny Football, whose arrival with the Browns prompted enthusiasm and a belief by some fans that he could bring the Browns back to respectability.

Instead of excitement, however, Manziel mostly delivered disappointment.

He spent most of his rookie season behind Brian Hoyer before getting his first career start late in the season against Cincinnati. Manziel played poorly in a 30-0 loss to the Bengals and the following week he injured his hamstring. Manziel was then fined when he didn’t show for the final walk-through practice before the finale at Baltimore.

Manziel said he regretted not working harder in his first season and vowed to change. That admission was followed by him checking into a drug and alcohol treatment center in Pennsylvania, where he spent 73 days.

Manziel returned for his second season eager to show he had learned his lessons. The Browns raved about his work ethic and it appeared he had turned the corner.

But once again, Manziel couldn’t stay out of trouble.

In October, Manziel was questioned by police in Avon, Ohio, after a witness reported a roadside confrontation. Manziel and then-girlfriend, Coleen Crowley acknowledged drinking alcohol before their argument. Crowley told police Manziel struck her and pushed her head into the car window.

Manziel was not arrested and he was later cleared of wrongdoing by the NFL, which investigated whether he had violated its personal-conduct policy.

Not long after, Manziel was stripped of his starting job by former coach Mike Pettine after the quarterback had promised he would not be a distraction during the team’s bye week. Manziel’s appearances on social media videos also bothered the Browns, who were caught between being supportive of him while also appearing to be letting him off easy.

Manziel got his job back after Josh McCown broke his collarbone, but he was ruled out of the season finale with a concussion. Manziel then failed to report to a scheduled medical treatment on Jan. 3 at the team’s training facility while his teammates played Pittsburgh. The Browns were not certain of Manziel’s location that day as a report surfaced he was in Las Vegas.

On Saturday, police were called an apartment complex where a woman identified as Manziel’s ex-girlfriend said she had been in a disturbance with Manziel, who was not at the scene. The woman said she was concerned about Manziel’s well-being. That prompted police to use a helicopter to find Manziel, who was deemed “safe and in no danger.”

Police in Fort Worth and Dallas are still trying to determine if Manziel assaulted his ex-girlfriend.

Before this latest matter, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said last week he believed the team’s strained relationship with him could still be fixed. But in light of yet another embarrassing episode, it appears the Browns will move on without him.

Manziel has lost to his own team.

Bennett doesn’t fear backlash for skipping White House trip

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HOUSTON (AP) Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett says he is not worried about upsetting team owner Robert Kraft by not attending New England’s trip to the White House as Super Bowl champions.

Bennett said after the Patriots’ 34-28 win over the Falcons on Sunday night that he’s “not going to go” to the traditional meet-and-greet with the president. It will be the first visit of a Super Bowl champion to Washington since Donald Trump was sworn into office.

Trump’s positions have alienated some athletes, which has raised questions about whether some might choose to skip the trip while the new president is in office.

But Bennett said he isn’t concerned about it and thinks the team believes “in whatever I want to do.”

Kraft is a supporter of Trump and attended a celebration dinner in Washington for him the night before his inauguration.

Patriots’ Tom Brady earns 4th Super Bowl MVP trophy with epic comeback

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HOUSTON (AP) The greatest quarterback in NFL history led the biggest Super Bowl comeback to be the MVP on Sunday night.

Tom Brady rallied New England from a 25-point third-quarter deficit for a 34-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the first overtime game in Super Bowl history to earn his fifth Super Bowl title and fourth MVP trophy.

“They’re all sweet,” he said. “They’re all different and this was just an incredible team and I’m just happy to be a part of it,” he said.

Brady threw touchdown passes of 5 and 6 yards in the second half and tied things at 28-28 when he connected withDanny Amendola on a 2-point conversion with 57 seconds left.

He then directed the drive in overtime which ended with a 2-yard run by James White to make the Patriots the first team to win a Super Bowl after trailing by more than 10 points.

“We all brought each other back,” he said. “We never felt out of it. It was a tough battle.”

His performance certainly wasn’t without its struggles. His incredible second half and overtime came after a first half where the Patriots managed just three points and he threw an interception which Robert Alford returned 82 yards for a touchdown. He was hurried and harassed for much of the games. The Falcons sacked him five times and hit him on another eight occasions.

He noted the beating he took when he was trying to recount the details of the comeback and couldn’t remember what the score was at one point in the rally.

“There was a lot of (stuff) that happened tonight,” he said. “I got hit pretty hard.”

His 466 yards passing are a Super Bowl record, surpassing the 414 yards Kurt Warner had 17 years ago. He also set a record for most passes completed in a Super Bowl with 43 and most attempts with 62.

He is the first to play in seven Super Bowls and the victory ties him with Charles Haley for most Super Bowl rings.

After all Brady has done in his career, was this his finest moment?

“Tom’s had a lot of great ones,” coach Bill Belichick said. “But, yeah tonight was one of them.”

It’s a triumphant end to a difficult season for Brady, who missed the first four games because of his “Deflategate” suspension and dealt with his mother Galynn Brady suffering through an undisclosed illness. The Super Bowl was the first game she’s attended all season.

“They’re all happy,” he said fighting back tears. “It’s nice to have everybody here and it’s going to be a great celebration tonight.”

He shared a quick moment with her right after the game, but was looking forward to more time with her in the upcoming days.

“It’s kind of madness after the game so I didn’t get much quality time with her but we’ll get it this week,” he said.

But he certainly wasn’t asking for sympathy for his rough road to this title though, chuckling when someone asked about the adversity the Patriots have gone through in the past couple of years.

“We’ve done pretty good over the last few years … so I don’t think anyone’s feeling bad for the Patriots,” he said. “I don’t think anyone feels bad for the Patriots.”

Brady also collected the MVP trophy in 2001, 2003 and 2014.

“It was just a lot of mental toughness by our team and we’re going to remember this one for the rest of our lives,” Brady said.

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