CLEVELAND >> Once Johnny Manziel texted that he wanted to “wreck this league” with them, the Browns didn’t waste another second.
They rushed to draft Johnny Football.
Browns quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains said in a radio interview Thursday that as the Texas A&M star was sliding in the first round of the NFL draft last week, Manziel sent a text message urging Cleveland to select him. The Browns had passed on taking Manziel with the first of their two picks in the first round.
Appearing on ESPN Arkansas, Loggains said Manziel sent him a text that read: “‘I wish you guys would come get me. Hurry up and draft me because I want to wreck this league together.'”
Loggains said he immediately forwarded the text to first-year Browns coach Mike Pettine and owner Jimmy Haslam, who said, “‘Pull the trigger. We’re trading up to go get this guy.'”
The Browns then made their third trade of the first round and moved from No. 26 to No. 22 and nabbed Manziel, college football’s most exciting player and potentially the answer to Cleveland’s problem at quarterback.
Loggains said he worked out 14 quarterbacks before the draft. After the team finished its evaluations, Manziel’s name was at the top of the list “and there was everyone else.”
Manziel’s plea to the Browns as he sat in the wings of Radio City Music Hall in New York waiting to be drafted made an impression on Loggains, Pettine and Cleveland’s front office.
“It shows you what type of competitor the kid is and I got to spend so much time with him leading up to this process,” said Loggains, who was hired by Pettine in February. ” I feel like I know him very well. I had a good relationship with him. That’s the type of kid this guy is. He wants to do well. He’s got a chip on his shoulder and he decided to be a Brown.”
Loggains also said the Browns tried to trade up to No. 11 with Tennessee and No. 16 with Dallas.
Manziel is taking part in Cleveland’s rookie minicamp this weekend. The Browns are attempting to manage the media frenzy by limiting access to Saturday’s workout to local reporters and photographers. The practice will be open for only 15 minutes and Manziel is expected to answer questions afterward. Sunday’s workout is closed.
The team doesn’t want Manziel to be a distraction from its other drafted players or unsigned free agents.
All eyes, however, will be on the kid in the No. 2 jersey.