CLEVELAND (AP) — A Browns fan who says he wanted to give Johnny Manziel “a hug” was struck by the rookie quarterback’s entourage at a downtown hotel and was left with a swollen eye and lip, police said.
Police were called to The Metropolitan at The 9, where Manziel has a luxury apartment, after a fight broke out at 2:25 a.m. Saturday.
According to a police report, Chris Gonos told police he was assaulted by “Johnny Football and his entourage.” The 33-year-old fan said he and his girlfriend approached Manziel while waiting for an elevator and he told the popular first-round draft pick: “I’m the biggest Browns fan ever. I love you. I want to give you a hug.”
Gonos said he took one step toward Manziel and was punched by a man listed on the report as Dana Kirk. Gonos contends he was struck several times in the face and “pushed and attacked” by a group of unidentified men who were with Manziel. Kirk said Gonos tried to assault Manziel, and he defended the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.
Gonos sustained a swollen lip and right eye, the report said. No arrests were made. The report also said the hotel manager said cameras located near the elevators may have captured video of the dispute.
Browns general manager Ray Farmer said in a statement the team is gathering more information to understand what happened.
“Nonetheless, the time of the incident is concerning to us. We continually stress to all of our players the importance of sound decision making in an effort to avoid putting themselves in these types of situations,” Farmer said. “We have addressed this appropriately with the player and will have no further comment at this time.”
Manziel’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, disputed Gonos’ account.
“Johnny and his roommate had been out to dinner earlier in the evening with Johnny’s mother, who is staying with him this week,” he said in an email. “There was no entourage. Johnny and his roommate were trying to get on the apartment elevator at his home when they were accosted by a very aggressive man and his associates. It was an unfortunate situation and he immediately let Ray Farmer and the team know what happened.”
Browns coach Mike Pettine said he has spoken with Manziel about the incident and that QB did not break any team rules. Pettine would not divulge any details of his meeting with Manziel.
“It was a conversation between a coach and a player,” said Pettine, who added he had not seen video of the altercation.
Manziel, who has been on the field for only a handful of plays this season, traveled with the Browns for their Sunday game in Atlanta.
His late hours and social life became an issue during the offseason when he was photographed at various nightclubs.
Manziel has spent his first season in the NFL backing up starter Brian Hoyer, who has pushed the Browns (7-4) into playoff contention. Hoyer threw three interceptions on Sunday but rallied Cleveland to a last-second, 26-24 win over the Falcons.
Pettine said the Browns coaching staff did not consider switching to Manziel during the game.