BEREA, Ohio—Mike Pettine said that it is unlikely that Johnny Manziel will play with the first team in the preseason opener Saturday against the Lions.
On Wednesday, Pettine said that Brian Hoyer would start but kept open the possibility that Manziel might get some plays with the first team.
However, on Thursday, Pettine was asked if Manziel would get some time with the first team in the game against the Lions.
“I don’t think he will,” Pettine said. “We’re going to let Brian go. Circumstances could change that obviously, but for this game I think we’ll pretty much stick to the units as we practiced with Brian with the ones and Johnny with the two’s.”
When a follow up question was asked, Pettine said there was no change in the quarterback competition.
“No,” he said. “We just didn’t want to mix the units for this game.”
LeBron in Berea: The media covering the Browns converged on LeBron James as he left the field with his sons but he didn’t want to overshadow the Browns.
“See you all tomorrow,” James said referring to the ‘Welcome Home LeBron’ night at InfoCision Stadium taking place in Akron on Friday night.
“I think its awesome having him out here,” Joe Thomas said. “Having him back in Cleveland is awesome to have the best player in our generation. I hope he comes out here a lot.”
Pettine said that James had been planning on coming to training camp all along.
“It was something that he had reached out (to us),” Pettine said. “He had been out of town for awhile and when he got back in town he wanted to come out to practice. We’ve been looking forward to it.”
Pettine was impressed with James’ football acumen.
“You could tell he’s into it,” he said. “He loves football and is a big Browns fan. He says he’ll be at the games when it’s warm and when it’s cold he’ll be watching from his basement.”
RB Terrance West was excited to see James.
“It got the players excited,” West said. “Of course. He has a big impact on everybody, football players and basketball players and he has a big impact on Cleveland. A lot of people are excited.”
DB Donte Whitner said James told him he could be a wide receiver in the NFL.
“I don’t think he could take a hit,” Whitner said.
Whitner was asked if he thought James could help QB Johnny Manziel as he develops in handling with being in the spot light.
“Most definitely,” Whitner said. “LeBron has been dealing with it his entire life – high school ‘til now. He’ll be a good mentor for Johnny and help him deal with some of the stuff off the field. I think it’s probably been going on already. Johnny these last couple days has been looking good in practice. You can really see that confidence, that Johnny Football confidence. He really knows where to go with the football. He’s taken command of the offense. Hats off to him.”
Ruled Out: TE Jordan Cameron (shoulder) is the only player that has been ruled out of the first preseason game. Cameron was on the sidelines with trainers along with DL Billy Winn, WR Nate Burleson, CB Justin Gilbert, OL Alex Parsons and LB Darius Eubanks.
Pettine said that the trainers will evaluate Gilbert and the others and determine who will and who won’t play against the Lions.
“Gilbert’s a little bit nicked,” he said. “Once we get the final evaluation from (trainer) Joe (Sheehan) we’ll see who can go and who can’t.”
QB Battle: QB Brian Hoyer had back-to-back interceptions in goal line drills. The first was by LB Zac Diles, followed by DB Joe Haden.
In 7-on-7, QB Johnny Manziel hit WR Josh Gordon for a score on a slant. Hoyer hit WR Miles Austin for a touchdown on a curl route and then made a nice throw to Gordon in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
Next Up: The Browns open the preseason Saturday night in Detroit with the Lions and will return to the practice field on Monday morning at 9:30 am.