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The madness begins
May 17, 2014 - Mike McLain
CLEVELAND -- The Johnny Manziel era with the Browns kicked off Saturday morning with a rookie practice that was media invitation only.
Minus all national media that tried unsuccessfully to acquire credentials, the media turnout wasn't far from the norm for a rookie camp. That will change when the team can't be as restrictive in issuing credentials.
It's amazing what is happening here. Manziel's every move is being watched, from television cameras to writers using their cell phones. I can't imagine what it will be like when training camp opens in late July.
This is like nothing I've observed since my days of covering the Browns, which dates back to 1980. The only thing that approaches it was Bernie Kosar's rookie season in 1985, but the lack of social media made it pale in comparison to what we're seeing now.
The press conference announcing the signing of Kosar was conducted at a restaurant in Cleveland Stadium. Kosar was flanked by his dad and owner Art Modell. They addressed a decent size of media representatives, but not as large as you might think.
The buzz in northeast Ohio in 1985 was off the charts for which we were accustomed. Kosar was an instant hero and remains so for many fans to this day.
The situation with Manziel is much larger. The media has created a monster that will be difficult to control for the the Browns public relations department. Every major media outlet wants a piece of the action, and eventually they will get their chance to take in the show.
How Manziel deals with it will dictate where it goes from here. If he plays off the "Johnny Football" image, the media will chronicle his every move and make the circus more bizarre. If he is the gym rat and first-in-and-first-out guy he claims to be, the circus will fade a bit.
For now, it's all Manziel, despite the fact that another rookie -- cornerback Justin Gilbert -- was drafted ahead of him in the first round.
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