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Joe Haden: Johnny Manziel 'off the field stuff ... can be prevented'

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Pam Oliver caught a football to the face Sunday.
That was a good play. (USATSI)

More NFL offseason: League minicamp dates | Latest news, notes

Johnny Manziel and the Browns recently agreed to the quarterback's rookie contract. But it's almost non-news when you consider just how heavily scrutinized Manziel is off the field.

The scrutiny continued in a recent interview on ESPN Cleveland with Browns cornerback Joe Haden, who said Manziel needs "a phone valet."

"Everybody is going to go out and have a good time," Haden said. "You gotta make sure when you're with your people, it just doesn't get out. He's going to have a good time, but a lot of things need to be taken away.

"You need to have a phone valet -- tell your friends to put your phones away. We're going to go out but don't record."

To be clear, Haden doesn't have an issue with the way Manziel conducts himself. He simply believes some of the scrutiny "can be prevented."

"He's grown. When I've seen him in the locker room, he's in there on time, he's in there studying," Haden said. "He's getting better and better, every OTA and every minicamp. It's just the off the field stuff, a lot of it can be prevented."

Why would Manziel want to prevent pics of him popping up all over the place? Haden believes it will get people "off his back."

"But he's young," Haden added. "Nothing that he does out there is affecting his improvement on the football field. For him, I would like to get people off of his back. You Johnny, you young, you just got in the league. You're doing everything you need to do on the field. Maybe just try to ease back a little bit."

Even if Manziel did ease back a bit, it's unlikely everyone would relax about him. He'd probably be accused of "hiding" his activities or some such.

None of it really matters, though. Manziel will get an opportunity in Browns training camp to win the starting quarterback job over Brian Hoyer. If he struggles, he'll receive plenty of criticism. If he thrives, people will still wait for him to fail.

The only way to make people stop hand-wringing over what he does off the field is to play well and win early.

 
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