CLEVELAND (AP) — Johnny Manziel went from hanging out with the Browns to hanging with the Biebs.
Cleveland’s rookie quarterback, whose social life has overshadowed his NFL arrival, posted photographs on Twitter of him and Justin Bieber.
Manziel promised last week he wouldn’t tone down his well-documented weekend living despite advice from Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith, Joe Montana and Warren Moon.
The 22-year-old not only kept his word but seemed to flaunt his celebrity by posting the photos with the pop star heartthrob as well as boxing champion Floyd Mayweather and others.
Manziel is free from football for the next few weeks. The Browns open training camp July 26, when Manziel will resume his competition with Brian Hoyer for the starting job. Manziel spent last week attending the NFL’s rookie symposium with Cleveland’s other first-year players.
On Friday, Manziel addressed the clamor caused by his social life — he has been filmed spraying champagne on partygoers in Las Vegas, photographed floating on an inflatable swan raft drinking champagne and seen in a video talking on a fake money phone.
Manziel defended his right to party.
“I’m not going to change who I am for anybody,” he said. “I’m growing up and continuing to learn from my mistakes and trying not to make the same ones over and over again, but am I going to live in a shell or am I just going to hide from everybody and not do anything? I don’t think that’s the way I should live my life and I’m not going to do it.
“I’m here. I’m very committed to football. I’m committed to my job, but on the weekends, I’m going to enjoy my time off.”
Manziel says he’s tired of all the talk about how he spends his free time, and he doesn’t believe he’s endangering his career or chances of beating out Hoyer.
“Everybody goes out on the weekends and enjoys their life and lives their life and just for them,” he said. “They don’t have people that when they walk into a place pull out their phones and all they want to do is follow me around and record everything. ... Everybody goes out and has fun. Everybody goes out and does that and I’m not doing anything that’s putting myself in a harmful situation. I’m not doing anything that’s putting my team or jeopardizing what I do here throughout the week, or what I’m looking forward to doing this season.”
After attending the three-day symposium, Manziel visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday and spent Sunday in Cleveland filming a TV commercial. But by Monday, he was back in the limelight.
Browns coach Mike Pettine has said he won’t speak to Manziel — or any of his other players — about their off-the-field affairs unless they get involved in criminal activities or it affects their jobs.
To this point, Manziel’s only offense seems to be a reluctance to avoid the spotlight.