Johnny Rehab…?

Just mere days after J.R. Smith told that he’s playing better basketball in Cleveland because there’s absolutely nothing for him to do out here, Mary Kay Cabot breaks the news that Johnny Manziel entered into a treatment facility to “get the help he needs.” The exact nature of his treatment has not been specified.

My first thought when I heard the news? This has got to be one massive PR stunt for Manziel; backlash for the ESPN tell-all by Fowler and McManamon—published only four days prior to his check-in to rehab—citing the difficulties Johnny Football faced on and off the field this season.

Let’s, for a moment, think back to the most embarrassing thing that happened to you as a 21-year-old on a drunken night. What’s that? You can’t remember all the humiliating shit you’ve done when you were wasted? You’ve mentally blocked your most horrifying moments out of your head? Oh. Okay. Now, imagine those moments you tried so hard to forget are forever immortalized, scrutinized and criticized by the media. Yep, there’s you, blacked out and licking a freakin’ light switch, plastered all over the news, and Twitter, and Facebook the next day for your parents and your boss to see. Not so much fun when you think about it that way, eh? Granted, Manziel should have some form of awareness that he is a public figure when making the decision to go out and party, but he’s also still an inexperienced kid.

With a rookie QB like Manziel, coming into a city like Cleveland, and playing for a team like the Browns, that so desperately needs some consistency… it’s a lot of pressure put on a 22-year-old. The hype surrounding ‘Johnny Cleveland’ being the answer for a struggling organization was palpable. And with that buildup, there comes a lot of responsibility to preserve your reputation.

The media obsessing over his whereabouts off the field didn’t bother me as much at first, because we never saw that lifestyle reflect on the field. That is, until he was named starter in Week 15 against the Bengals, and he clearly looked confused by the routes, he ineffectively called plays, and he couldn’t really make much of anything happen on offense. And then he was too hungover to wake up for treatment before our final game? And other players were affected by this party he supposedly threw the night before too? Now, his party lifestyle seemed anything but harmless. Clearly there are deeper issues going on here that even people within the organization may not even know.

…And proceed to feel like a dick for thinking this was all a publicity stunt.

In all honesty, if Johnny really needs the help, it’s huge that he made the decision to get it. This represents one of the first times since he was drafted that he let his actions speak louder than his words. I have nothing but support and respect for that, and I think it’s safe to say we are all rooting for him to get the help he needs and to work on bettering himself as a person.

As for next season… if he is healthy, I say let Johnny start. Every game. Let’s see if he’s really taking the steps to take his job seriously, and let’s see if he is made for the NFL. Worst case scenario? The Browns go 0-16, and we can draft the next flavor-of-the-week QB next year. Best case scenario? Well, let us all be reminded that in 1996, Brett Farve’s 46-day stint in rehab (for an addiction to Vicodin) allowed him to lead the ’96 Packers to their best season in 30 years, a Super Bowl and an MVP for Farve. I mean. Anything can happen.

A day in the life of a Cleveland sports fan

I can remember having the best birthday week ever, as all last week the Cleveland Browns sat pretty in first place. The lone AFC North team up there with a record of 6-3 through Week 10. It’s a feeling I’ve never experienced before… Not only does our division have an outstanding overall record (all teams are over .500 at this point), but the Browns… the Cleveland Browns were in first thanks to the Steelers losing miserably to the 1-8 Jets last Sunday. And this is after we had one of the best Thursday Night Football performances in NFL history, crushing the Bengals 24-3 on their home turf.

I can remember thinking this is our year; Hoyer is the man, our coaching staff is looking great, and the icing on the cake is that our secret weapon–a person that even made Brandon Weeden look good–Josh Gordon will be back in just over a week.

And then Sunday happened. From on top of the world, to tied for 3rd place, the Browns fell to the Houston Texans, or more specifically, JJ Twatt (aka Lurch–see below), and a QB who had his first career NFL start, that our defense made look like some kind of a god. Hoyer couldn’t complete a good pass to save his life, we couldn’t convert on 3rd downs, hell, we couldn’t even make a 38-yard field goal. Not like it would have mattered anyway.

Notice the resemblance?

Notice the resemblance?

And we’re back to reality… not winning in our division, doubts filling the fans heads regarding our team, our QB, our coaching staff, and to add fuel to the fire, outlandish comments claiming if Johnny Manziel were our starting QB, that the Browns would still be in first place… On the bright side, an uplifting quote from Browns reporter Kevin Jones: “There are 20 other teams around the league that would kill to be 6-4. The Browns still control their own destiny. They are still getting back Josh Gordon bright and early Monday morning. They are still a football team nobody wants to play.” Still: not enough to soften this blow. The only thing getting me through this crushing defeat was knowing my girlfriends and I were going to the Cavaliers game the next day.

I can remember exactly where I was when I heard LeBron was returning to Cleveland. Sitting on my (roommate’s) sectional on my lunch break, watching LeBron Watch: 2014, as ESPN devoted their entire daily programming to him in the days leading up to his announcement. Constantly refreshing Twitter to see if the news broke. And when it did… I was so pumped for Cleveland… for the Cavs, and for the teams I have never wavered in rooting for, no matter how poorly we’ve performed over the years.

I can remember thinking that it all seemed like it was happening; LeBron is back, Kyrie is staying, we were even able to clinch the adorable Kevin Love… we have our Big 3! It’s really happening for Cleveland. And I was going to get to see it in person!

And then Monday happened. Coming off a 4-game winning streak and facing the 2-7 Denver Nuggets, I was beyond excited to finally get the chance to witness LeBron, Kyrie and K-Love in action. I wanted to see magic, and all I got was cheap beer (which was actually very expensive) to drown my sorrows. A post-game quote from LeBron went something like, “You have a team that hasn’t been playing well this year come into your building and think it’s going to be a cakewalk, and that’s what happens.” Typical.

And we’re back to reality… Cleveland received the gift that is LeBron James, and just because he’s the best player in the league, doesn’t mean we aren’t going to lose a game. It’s still so early in the season and the team is so new together that it would be illogical to think that they’d come out with guns blazing. But it would be nice. And as a Cleveland fan, you’d think we deserve it. However, the harsh reality is that we’re always going to be brought back down to Earth when it comes to our sports teams.

It’s all just a day in the life of a Cleveland sports fan. But, we’re resilient. We’ll all be just fine.