Reality check for rookie: I am not the Johnny Manziel from a year ago

After 13 games as a back-up and two starts for the Cleveland Browns in which he seemed overwhelmed and unprepared, Manziel realises he must change.

BEREA, OHIO // Humbled by his rough rookie season, Johnny Manziel has promised to be a more committed quarterback.

The NFL knocked some of the air out of Johnny Football.

“I’m not the guy that I’ve always been,” he said. “I’m not the Johnny Manziel that came in here a year ago. It’s been a year of growing up for me.”

Manziel, who will not play against the Baltimore Ravens this weekend because of a hamstring injury, said on Tuesday that he may have misjudged how difficult it would be to transition to the pros.

But after 13 games as a back-up and two starts for the Cleveland Browns in which he seemed overwhelmed and unprepared, Manziel realises he must change.

“This is a job for me now, and I have to take it a lot more seriously than maybe I did at first,” he said.

Manziel would not acknowledge that his off-season lifestyle, which included trips to Las Vegas and hanging out with pop star Justin Bieber, may have affected his readiness to play. However, he said it did shape his perception outside the Browns’ headquarters.

“I haven’t painted the greatest picture of me of being in here and staying on top of myself,” he said. “I’m sure with the stuff I’ve done off the field, it’s negatively affected that.”

Manziel said when he entered the league he was “a kid who still had a college mindset a little bit”.

He insists those days are over. “I think this year has really helped mould me into a pro and figure out how this league works and what it takes,” he said.

“So there was a lot of learning to do throughout this year, and I think it’s for the better for me as a person and as a player.”

Published: December 24, 2014 04:00 AM

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