Johnny Manziel slipped in the first round of the Draft on Thursday, and, if a new report is accurate, was in stark danger of dropping even further. According to ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam ordered the team to take Manziel over Teddy Bridgewater at almost literally the last possible second:
A source told me that the card prepared to be given to Commissioner Roger Goodell for the official announcement in Radio City Music Hall originally had Bridgewater’s name on it. Then with 10 seconds to go, a new card replaced it with the name of Johnny Manziel, as a result of owner Jimmy Haslam’s order.
A Browns spokesman (obviously) denied the report, but the circumstances are certainly plausible. During and after the Draft, we kept hearing that Haslam strongly coveted Manziel (as well as strong denials about the owner’s influence in the process). At the very least, it’s pretty fun to imagine that this all went down — eschewing the $100k analytics study for the advice of a homeless man — exactly as Grossi describes.
Update: The denials continue:
HC Mike Pettine said a report that the #Browns had bridgewater's name on the card first before Manziel is "beyond laughable."
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) May 12, 2014
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