Browns dispute report that Johnny Manziel showed up to practice drunk

Johnny Manziel isn't long for the Browns. A series of off-field missteps has guaranteed that, though the latest report -- that Manziel showed up to practice drunk and the team tried to cover it up -- is being disputed by the Browns.

"Johnny Manziel came to our facility on the morning of December 30th and complained of concussion symptoms," the Browns said in a statement. "He was tested by an independent neurologist and entered the league's concussion protocol. He remained in the protocol until January 12th after being cleared by the independent neurologist."

But here's NFL Network's Mike Silver original report: "I was with a Browns player yesterday. Johnny Manziel going into what would have been a start late in the season, showed up drunk at practice on a Wednesday. The Browns lied and said he was in the concussion protocol. Let me repeat that: the Browns lied to try and to protect, and I would argue enable, this irresponsible and very troubled young man."

This isn't the first time we've heard mention of this; on Jan. 3, shortly before he was fired, Browns coach Mike Pettine was asked in a press conference if Manziel was sent home for being inebriated. "No" was the response.

And Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot tweeted today that she had also heard similar rumors. She checked with the team at the time and they said Manziel had a concussion.

Johnny Manziel has had a troubled NFL existence. (USATSI)
Johnny Manziel has had a troubled NFL existence. (USATSI)

Three days after Manziel complained of concussion-like symptoms, he was reportedly spotted at a Las Vegas casino and he was wearing a disguise to avoid detection. Hours later, the Browns lost to the Steelers in the regular-season finale and Manziel was nowhere to be found. He also missed his concussion treatment.

Following the Browns' statement, Silver took to Twitter to issue his own.

"I've been told by multiple sources that Manziel showed up late to the team facility for a meeting and noticeably drunk on Wednesday, Dec. 30. He was later placed in the concussion protocol and sent home. I am not a doctor and thus cannot presume to question the diagnosis of an independent neurologist or any medical professional...

I do not have direct knowledge of what Manziel may have told the doctor or doctors who evaluated him, or what might have been suggested. If the Browns say they did not lie about Manziel's diagnosis, I will take them at their word, and I regret using that term ('lied'). I stand by my original report that Manziel showed up drunk at practice and that witnesses believed this was the cause of his 'behavior.' This will be my last comment on the subject, pending further reporting."

Wherever the truth lies, Manziel sounds like a man in desperate need of help. His father said last week that the former Heisman Trophy winner won't see his 24th birthday unless he gets help.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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