Johnny Manziel's father worried quarterback self-destructing

FILE - In this May 8, 2014, file photo, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel reacts after being selected by the Cleveland Browns as the 22nd pick during the first round of the NFL Draft in New York. The Browns indicated Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, that theyíve finally had enough of Manzielís bad-boy behavior and intend to release the quarterback in March when the league begins its next calendar year. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
FILE - In this May 8, 2014, file photo, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel reacts after being selected by the Cleveland Browns as the 22nd pick during the first round of the NFL Draft in New York. The Browns indicated Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, that theyíve finally had enough of Manzielís bad-boy behavior and intend to release the quarterback in March when the league begins its next calendar year. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File) — Frank Franklin II

CLEVELAND – With Johnny Manziel's professional career in doubt and his personal life crumbling, his father fears for his safety.

The troubled quarterback was under investigation by two police departments following allegations that he hit his former girlfriend last weekend in Texas. Manziel will be released by the Cleveland Browns next month after two tumultuous seasons.

"I truly believe if they can't get him help, he won't live to see his 24th birthday," Paul Manziel told The Dallas Morning News.

Manziel's father said the family has made two unsuccessful attempts in the past week to get the player into a rehab clinic.

Manziel agreed to go to the Enterhealth Ranch addiction facility in Van Alstyne, Texas, but he would not stay, Paul Manziel told the Morning News. He tried to have his son admitted Tuesday to Carrollton Springs Hospital, but Manziel was allowed to leave. Paul Manziel said he told a Denton County Sheriff officer he believed his son to be suicidal.

Paul Manziel did not immediately return a phone message left by The Associated Press.

The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, who entered the NFL with a party-boy reputation, spent 73 days last winter in a Pennsylvania treatment center specializing in care for alcohol and drug dependency.

The disturbing portrait of Manziel comes as his agent dropped the 23-year-old quarterback as a client Friday.

Erik Burkhardt said that with "deep regret" he has ended the business relationship. He added that he made his decision after "several emotional and very personal discussions with his family, his doctors, and my client himself."

"Though I will remain a friend and Johnny supporter, and he knows I have worked tirelessly to arrange a number of professional options for him to continue to pursue, it has become painfully obvious that his future rests solely in his own hands," the agent said in a statement.

"His family and I have gone to great lengths to outline the steps we feel he must take to get his life in order. Accountability is the foundation of any relationship, and without it the function of my work is counterproductive. I truly wish the best for Johnny and sincerely hope he can, and will, find the kind of peace and happiness he deserves."

Manziel was under police investigation for allegedly hitting ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley. She told police the former Texas A&M star struck her "several times" at a Dallas hotel and later when they drove back to her apartment in Fort Worth. The police departments in both cities said Thursday their investigations are closed.

Burkhardt isn't the first to cut business ties with Manziel. LeBron James' marketing agency ended its association with him last month. The Cleveland Cavaliers star did not want to discuss Manziel following a morning shootaround.

"I've already voiced my opinion on his situation," James said. "I'm not going to do it again. I think that's the last thing I need to be talking about is his incidents. That doesn't make it any better. I wasn't there. I don't know what happened, so who am I to say he was right or he was wrong? I wasn't there."

On Tuesday, the Browns released a strong statement in which the team indicated it will release Manziel as early as March 9, when the league begins its new calendar year.

Also, the league is looking into whether Manziel violated its personal-conduct policy. League spokesman Greg Aiello said Thursday the inquiry is "ongoing." Manziel was cleared of any wrongdoing last year after he and Crowley got into a heated roadside argument near the player's home.

Roger Goodell to require NFL teams to interview women for executive jobs

Goodell to implement a "Rooney Rule" for women

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gestures while speaking before the NFL Womenís Summit Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gestures while speaking before the NFL Womenís Summit Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) — Ben Margot

SAN FRANCISCO – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will implement a "Rooney Rule" requiring that women be interviewed for executive positions with teams around the league.

Goodell made the announcement Thursday in his opening remarks at the first NFL Women's Summit, part of Super Bowl 50.

Goodell says, "You can see that progress is being made."

The Bills hired the NFL's first full-time assistant coach last month, Kathryn Smith, as special teams quality control coach.

That move comes after Jen Welter coached the Cardinals' inside linebackers during Arizona's training camp last summer, while Sarah Thomas became the league's first female official this past season.

"I think this should be the Al Davis rule," former Oakland CEO Amy Trask, the NFL's first female CEO, said on Twitter of the late Raiders owner. "Hope my reasoning is clear."

The List: Greatest Super Bowl champion teams ever

The greatest Super Bowl team of all-time?

Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka is carried off the field by Steve McMichael, left, and William Perry after the Bears win Super Bowl XX in New Orleans, La., on Jan. 26, 1986.  The Bears' Willie Gault (83) and Maury Buford (8) join in celebrating their 46-10 victory over the New England Patriots.  (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)
Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka is carried off the field by Steve McMichael, left, and William Perry after the Bears win Super Bowl XX in New Orleans, La., on Jan. 26, 1986. The Bears' Willie Gault (83) and Maury Buford (8) join in celebrating their 46-10 victory over the New England Patriots. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin) — PHIL SANDLIN

Whittling down the top five Super Bowl era teams is subjective, of course, but also complicated. For instance, how can the undefeated 1972 Dolphins or transformative 1968 Jets miss the cut?

They’re the best teams ever for their respective franchises, but they don’t stack up with the listed clubs. Buffalo is the only team to reach four consecutive Super Bowls, but without a Lombardi, we can’t build a case for them here.

The 2000 Ravens have their supporters of boasting a defense better than the 1985 Bears, but led by Trent Dilfer, the offense was flawed. To be clear: our subjective list is the five greatest teams to win Super Bowls in a given season – not the one responsible for the most Super Bowl titles. Agree or disagree, here it is:

1985 Bears:

Hall of Fame coach Mike Ditka’s “Monsters of the Midway” featured arguably the most feared defense ever, Buddy Ryan’s dominating “46,” with three Hall of Famers helping generate an unfathomable 61 takeaways while permitting an NFL-low 12.4 points per game.

Walter Payton, arguably the greatest running back of all time, finished No. 3 in rushing (1,551 yards) and totaled 11 touchdowns for the league’s second-most prolific offense. Chicago’s point differential of plus-258 is the widest on this list.

No team had more swagger and star power. And their 36-point blowout of New England in Super Bowl XX is the second-largest ever, the culmination of a postseason in which the Bears allowed just 10 points in three victories.

1978 Steelers: Pittsburgh won four Super Bowls from 1975-80, but this group, anchored by “The Steel Curtain” defense surrendering the fewest points in the league, and Terry Bradshaw tossing 28 touchdowns for the most powerful Pittsburgh offense of this era, went 14-2 while dismantling opponents.

Chuck Noll’s club was the first to three Super Bowl victories after topping Dallas 35-31 in Super Bowl XII. This club boasted nine Hall of Famers.

1984 49ers:

The first team to go 15-1, one year before the Bears, Bill Walsh’s group shut out Chicago in the NFC championship game. Joe Montana, Dwight Clark and Freddie Solomon propelled the passing game, with Roger Craig and Wendell Tyler forming a versatile backfield behind an O-line with three Pro Bowlers.

Feared Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott spearheaded the NFL’s No. 1 scoring defense, which sent four defensive backs to the Pro Bowl. Montana piled up 390 total yards and four touchdowns en route to a 38-16 Super Bowl XIX triumph versus Dan Marino’s Dolphins and his second Super Bowl MVP trophy.

1993 Cowboys:

Jimmy Johnson’s second consecutive and final Super Bowl victory with the Cowboys punctuated a 12-4 season, in which Dallas overcame a two-week holdout by league and Super Bowl XXVIII MVP Emmitt Smith to begin the season; Troy Aikman missing two-and-a-half games with injuries, including exiting the NFC Championship game early; and Leon Lett’s infamous botched fumble recovery that wrestled defeat from the jaws of victory.

Hall of Famers Smith and wide receiver Michael Irvin, and vertical threat Alvin Harper led a high-flying offense, and LB Ken Norton and DT Russell Maryland anchored the defense, both units finishing No. 2 in the NFL in scoring.

2013 Seahawks and 1966 Packers (TIE):

We couldn’t overlook the first or last great team of this era. Led by Vince Lombardi and Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr, Green Bay finished 12-2 in the regular season, with Starr earning his only MVP award for overcoming the NFL’s worst rushing offense with a league-leading 2,257 passing yards and career-high 105.0 passer rating. Linebacker Ray Nitschke was the face of the league’s best scoring ‘D,’ holding opponents to just 11.6 points per game.

Green Bay toppled Dallas in the NFL championship, two weeks before destroying the Chiefs in the inaugural Super Bowl two weeks later.

Pete Carroll’s “Legion of Boom” defense yielded a league-low 14.4 points and 172 passing yards per game while tallying the most interceptions (28) and budding star Russell Wilson piloted the offense en route to a 13-3 mark and 43-8 throttling of the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Former NFL quarterback Ken Stabler had brain disease CTE

FILE - In this Dec. 27, 1976, file photo, Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler stands on the sidelines during the second half of AFC championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Oakland, Calif. Boston researchers say Stabler had the brain disease CTE. Boston University confirmed the diagnosis Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016.  Stabler, who died of colon cancer at 69 in July 2015, had Stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Dr. Ann McKee told The Associated Press. McKee said the disease was widespread throughout his brain, with "severe" damage to the regions involving learning, memory and regulation of emotion. (AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this Dec. 27, 1976, file photo, Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler stands on the sidelines during the second half of AFC championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Oakland, Calif. Boston researchers say Stabler had the brain disease CTE. Boston University confirmed the diagnosis Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. Stabler, who died of colon cancer at 69 in July 2015, had Stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Dr. Ann McKee told The Associated Press. McKee said the disease was widespread throughout his brain, with "severe" damage to the regions involving learning, memory and regulation of emotion. (AP Photo/File) — Anonymous

BOSTON – Former Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler, the late NFL and Super Bowl MVP who is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has been diagnosed with the brain disease CTE, Boston University researchers said Wednesday.

Stabler, who died of colon cancer at 69 in July, had Stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Dr. Ann McKee told The Associated Press. McKee said the disease was widespread throughout his brain, with "quite severe" damage to the regions involving learning, memory and regulation of emotion.

"We've now found CTE in former NFL players who played every position except kicker," said McKee, a professor of neurology at Boston University. "While we know on average that certain positions experience more repetitive head impacts and are more likely at greater risk for CTE, no position is immune."

The diagnosis was first reported by The New York Times.

The disease, which can only be diagnosed after death, is linked to repeated brain trauma and associated with symptoms such as memory loss, depression and progressive dementia. CTE has been found in the brains of dozens of former football players.

According to Chris Nowinski, the founder of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, Stabler told his family he wanted to have his brain studied after learning that former NFL linebacker Junior Seau had been diagnosed with the disease. In 2012, Seau shot himself in the chest at the age of 43.

"What is interesting about Ken Stabler is that he anticipated his diagnosis years in advance," Nowinski told the AP. "And even though he's a football icon he began actively distancing himself from game in his final years, expressing hope that his grandsons would choose not to play."

McKee said the extent of the damage to Stabler's brain was surprising because he was relatively young when he died and because he was a quarterback and thought to be less exposed to repeated head trauma.

"There was no evidence of any other brain disorder to explain the difficulties he experienced during life," McKee said.

The left-handed Stabler, nicknamed the "Snake" for his ability to escape from defenders, led Alabama to an undefeated season in 1966. A second-round draft pick by Oakland, he was the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 1974, and he was named Super Bowl MVP in 1977 after leading the Raiders to victory.

In all, Stabler threw for 27,938 career yards and a .661 winning percentage over 15 seasons, which also included stints with the Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints. He was selected as a finalist for the Hall of Fame by its Seniors Committee; the inductees will be announced on Saturday.

Vernon Davis hopes to play a role in Super Bowl with Broncos

Denver Broncos' Vernon Davis is interviewed during Opening Night for the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Denver Broncos' Vernon Davis is interviewed during Opening Night for the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) — Jeff Chiu

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Vernon Davis got to sleep at home for a night in the Bay Area, stay in the same hotel where he lived during 49ers training camp last summer, and the equipment staff even promised him his old locker at Levi's Stadium this weekend.

No matter that he might play a bit part in this Super Bowl for the Denver Broncos, Davis is back where he has made a home for more than a decade and ready to win a championship ring after coming up just short three years ago with San Francisco.

It just so happened he arrived Sunday for Super Bowl week on his 32nd birthday, too.

"It hasn't been that long since I left here, so it kind of seems like I was just here," said Davis, who was traded from the 49ers to the Broncos on Nov. 2. "I'll look around a little bit and get a gauge on things and I'll come to the realization that I'm actually playing in the Super Bowl at Levi's Stadium."

The veteran tight end has had discussions with many a teammate already on the importance that they "just stay together, just stay in this moment, and don't get caught up on the outside because the moment you do there's a lot of risk."

Davis didn't even have plans to stop by the Jamba Juice store he owns.

He would love nothing more than to leave his mark on this Super Bowl, somehow. Even if he has played all of 11 snaps this postseason with one target and no catches.

"You haven't seen me but there's a chance that you could see me," he said. "I don't know. I'm all about faith, anything could happen just like that. The moment it does, I have to take advantage of my opportunities. They will come. ... I'm a patient guy and I'm ready whenever the opportunity presents itself."

Davis' short time in the offense — and playing with two different quarterbacks in Peyton Manning and backup Brock Osweiler — made for a challenging transition to his new team.

According to Football Perspective, Davis is one of just four players to have competed in home games on the Super Bowl field during the regular season then return for the championship game with a different team.

For Davis, that three-point loss to Baltimore in the Super Bowl following the 2012 season has stuck with him — just as it has for many of his former 49ers teammates.

"It just weighs heavy on you when you make it to the Super Bowl and you can't pull off the victory," Davis said. "It's not a good feeling at all. I stressed that to some of my teammates, I wanted to make them aware of what it can feel like if things didn't go our way — just give them that fire and that motivation."

He has watched Manning so intently the past couple of months to learn whatever he can from the five-time NFL MVP, noting, "I even picked the seat beside him in the team meeting room just to get his energy."

Davis matched his career high with 13 touchdown receptions in 2013, and believes he can still be that dominant again. He has had tough stretches before when he didn't get as many chances as he'd like.

When someone suggested that Sunday might be his final game, Davis chuckled, "Oh, come on, man, no way, no way."

"As long as I can run a 4.3 or a 4.4 I'm going to continue to play the game. When that leaves, then I'll stop playing," said Davis, who is still running a 4.3-second 40-yard dash. "I'm leaving on my own terms, most definitely."

Davis' experience in big games and athleticism is a big reason Denver acquired him.

"He's brought that," general manager John Elway said. "Obviously, the play time's been up and down, but he's made some big catches for us. He came in in a short window, too, so trying to get him comfortable with the offense, what we're doing, and also it was right around the time that Brock started and came in. He's always there, he's always a threat and the defense always has to worry about him."

Davis has been providing his share of insight already about how it felt to come so close and lose on the NFL's biggest stage. His versatility also has allowed the Broncos to run more two- and three-tight end sets.

"Vernon's a heck of a player. We came in together '06 class, so 10 years in the game for him," Broncos tight end Owen Daniels said. "A ton of playoff experience, Super Bowl experience, that can't be overlooked in terms of being able to relay that to guys and kind of alert us to what might be going on during the week. He lives around the corner from here. He's great for this week specifically. He's been a great addition to our team."

Browns fans boycotting Johnny Manziel for month on Twitter

FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, file photo, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel speaks with media members after an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle. Tired of Manzielís off-field transgressions, some Browns fans have vowed not to discuss the quarterback on Twitter in February 2016. Theyíve begun a ìJohnny Free Februaryî movement to refrain from mentioning Manziel on their social media accounts. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, file photo, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel speaks with media members after an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle. Tired of Manzielís off-field transgressions, some Browns fans have vowed not to discuss the quarterback on Twitter in February 2016. Theyíve begun a ìJohnny Free Februaryî movement to refrain from mentioning Manziel on their social media accounts. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund, File) — Scott Eklund

CLEVELAND – Some Browns fans are sacking Johnny Manziel for a month — and maybe longer.

Tired of the quarterback's off-field transgressions, the fans have started a "Johnny Free February" movement on Twitter. Longtime Browns fan Chris McNeil says his 8-year-old daughter came up with the idea after hearing about more bad news involving Manziel.

As of Monday morning, McNeil says 750 people have signed up for his campaign "not to tweet, retweet, or mention Johnny Manziel on Twitter in February or until he is no longer a Cleveland Brown."

The tipping point for many fans was the latest news concerning the quarterback. Manziel is being investigated for a possible assault of his ex-girlfriend in Texas, where police used a helicopter to find him.

Lions say they're still giving Calvin Johnson time to decide future

FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015 file photo, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) warms up before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers at Ford Field in Detroit. The Detroit Lions are still giving Johnson time to ponder his future. The team issued a statement Sunday, Jan. 31. 2016, saying it stands by its previous statement that supported Johnson after ESPN reported he told family, friends and Lions coach Jim Caldwell he is retiring. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015 file photo, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) warms up before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers at Ford Field in Detroit. The Detroit Lions are still giving Johnson time to ponder his future. The team issued a statement Sunday, Jan. 31. 2016, saying it stands by its previous statement that supported Johnson after ESPN reported he told family, friends and Lions coach Jim Caldwell he is retiring. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski, File) — Rick Osentoski

ALLEN PARK, Mich. – The Detroit Lions are still giving Calvin Johnson time to ponder his future.

The team issued a statement Sunday, saying it stands by its previous statement that supported Johnson, after ESPN reported that the superstar receiver told family, friends and Lions coach Jim Caldwell that he is retiring. ESPN did not name its sources.

Johnson declined to say last season if he would restructure his contract, which calls for him to count $24 million against the salary cap in 2016.

If the 30-year-old Johnson chooses to retire, he will walk away from the game despite having the physical ability to play more, just as Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders did. Sanders was 30 in 1998, his 10th and final season with the Lions.

Peyton Manning a Panther? Carolina tried, but failed in '98

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning waits to throw during NFL football practice, Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, in Englewood, Colo. The Broncos are preparing to face the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, Feb. 7, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning waits to throw during NFL football practice, Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, in Englewood, Colo. The Broncos are preparing to face the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, Feb. 7, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) — David Zalubowski

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – If the Carolina Panthers had their way, maybe Peyton Manning would be playing for them — not against them — in the Super Bowl.

When Manning was coming out for the 1998 draft, the Panthers approached Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian with a megadeal offer.

It included trading fourth-year quarterback Kerry Collins and multiple draft picks, including their first-round selection that year, for the right to take Manning with the No. 1 overall selection.

Carolina was hoping Polian, who had drafted Collins just three years before while working as the GM for the Panthers, would pull the trigger on the deal.

Problem was, Polian wouldn't even consider the offer.

"Bill was dead set against it," said Dom Capers, Carolina's head coach at the time who was also given control of personnel decisions when Polian left the team after the 1997 season.

"He was set on keeping the pick. You never know on those kinds of things — but sometimes you have to try."

Polian said he had his heart setting on drafting Manning.

"There wasn't anything they could give us that was going to replace Peyton Manning," Polian said.

Capers, now the defensive coordinator with the Green Bay Packers, said he was "blown away" after meeting Manning at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis in February 1998.

Manning walked into the interview with a yellow notepad, sat down and started asking Capers questions.

"He left the room and I sat there in amazement," Capers said. "It was like he was interviewing me for an hour. He was incredibly professional, focused and you just knew right then he was going to be a player."

Apparently, so did Polian.

The Colts at the time already had running back Marshall Faulk, wide receiver Marvin Harrison and offensive tackle Tarik Glenn on the roster and Polian felt all they needed was a quarterback.

He liked Manning over Collins, whom he selected with the fifth overall pick in 1995.

"We liked Kerry, but we didn't feel like it was a fair return," Polian said. "We felt Peyton had so much potential. Honestly, there was nothing anybody could have offered us that would have made us decide to move the pick."

Said Capers: "Bill knew what he had with the No. 1 pick in Peyton. We tried. We talked with Bill, but Bill just wasn't going to do it. He thought Peyton was going to be something special — and he proved him right."

Manning is expected to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

The five-time league MVP will be playing in his fourth Super Bowl when the Denver Broncos meet the Panthers on Feb. 7 in Santa Clara, California.

"He's going to go down if not the greatest, one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play this game," Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis said.

Said Capers: "If you took one of the top five offensive coordinators and put him under center that is what it would be like. He's so cerebral."

Not long after Polian selected Manning over Ryan Leaf with the No. 1 pick, the Colts and Panthers organizations headed in two different directions.

The Colts became a mainstay in the playoffs, reaching the postseason 11 of the next 13 seasons under Manning and won the Super Bowl after the 2006 season.

The Panthers would go five seasons before even making the playoffs.

They selected defensive end Jason Peter with the 14th overall pick in 1998. But he retired after the 2001 season.

Collins, who had been accused of using a racial slur by a teammate in 1997, found more problems on and off the field.

He was cut by the Panthers midway through the 1998 season after Capers told reporters the quarterback walked into his office and told him he'd lost the desire to play.

A year later, Collins was arrested for DUI while a member of the New Orleans Saints.

Collins would get things straightened out though and play 17 seasons in the NFL, leading the New York Giants to an appearance in the Super Bowl.

As for Capers, he handed the job to Steve Beuerlein after Collins was released, but the Panthers finished 4-12 in 1998 and he was fired by owner Jerry Richardson.

Capers laughed when asked if the deal for Manning had gone through if his tenure in Carolina might have been longer.

"You never know," Capers said. "That is one thing about this business — you just never know. Those kinds of decisions have tremendous impacts on an organization."

As for Polian, he said with a laugh, "I think I made the right call."

Browns owner believes team can work things out with Johnny Manziel

FILE - In this Dec. 27, 2015, file photo, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Mo. Manziel had a second straight troubling season with Cleveland, one that included him being benched for misbehavior off the field. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam Haslam said Manziel made ìundeniableî progress as a starter, but the 2012 Heisman Trophy winnerís commitment remains a major question mark. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 27, 2015, file photo, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Mo. Manziel had a second straight troubling season with Cleveland, one that included him being benched for misbehavior off the field. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam Haslam said Manziel made ìundeniableî progress as a starter, but the 2012 Heisman Trophy winnerís commitment remains a major question mark. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga, File) — Ed Zurga

CLEVELAND – Johnny Manziel's relationship with the Browns may be strained and showing sizeable cracks.

Owner Jimmy Haslam isn't ready to call it over.

Manziel's off-field antics, which led to him being benched last season and include new videos of him partying, have concerned the Browns but Haslam isn't ready to publicly say the quarterback's days in Cleveland have ended.

Speaking with reporters backstage at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards along with wife and co-owner, Dee, Haslam discussed several topics before the event, including his recently hired and restructured front office and Manziel, who has had two tumultuous seasons with Browns.

Manziel was benched last season by former coach Mike Pettine for off-field misbehavior, and Haslam was asked if he was concerned that more videos have surfaced of the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, who spent 73 days in rehab last year, partying.

"I think we made clear, I don't have any different feelings than we had on Sunday January 3rd," Haslam said referring to the final day of the season when Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer were fired hours after a loss to Pittsburgh. "I think Johnny made progress on the field last year. I think that's undeniable. We have a certain expectation for our players and that includes Johnny and he's got to live up to those expectations."

The Browns may have already decided to move on from Manziel and will trade or release him.

Browns Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown doesn't think that would be the right move.

"I know a lot of kids that if you don't know how to deal with them you lose them," said the greatest Brown of them all. "They don't come ready made. But on the other hand the argument is that he's a man. He should know how to conduct himself. He has an opportunity. We've got all of that. But I like him and I hope that they are able to relate, and I think if they're able to relate that he will respect the coach.

"I don't want to see him traded or anything like that."

New Browns coach Hue Jackson has not yet spoken to Manziel, but Haslam is confident that meeting will take place soon. Haslam said there would be obvious disappointment if that day comes.

"Look, one of the reasons the Browns are in the condition they're in is they've not drafted well," he said. "Our predecessors didn't draft well and we didn't draft well. Any time a number one draft pick or any high draft pick is not successful and is not a big contributor, that's disappointing to the organization."

Haslam said any decision about Manziel's future with Cleveland will be made by Jackson and new vice president of football operations Sashi Brown.

The Browns have the No. 2 pick in this year's draft and will likely use it on a quarterback, perhaps California's Jared Goff or North Dakota State's Carson Wentz, who met with Jackson this week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

Quarterback Josh McCown, who started for Cleveland last season and grew close to Manziel, isn't sure a change of scenery would be best for the Browns and the young QB.

"It's hard for me to comment on that," he said. "I want what's best for him, and he's a member of our team, so it's what can we do for him to help him be the best member of the Cleveland Browns that he can in whatever role that is? So that's what I'm for."

How John Elway rebuilt the Broncos following Seattle shellacking

Denver Broncos general manager and executive vice president of football operations John Elway, left, holds the AFC Championship trophy next to head coach Gary Kubiak following the NFL football AFC Championship game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Denver. The Broncos defeated the Patriots 20-18 to advance to the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos general manager and executive vice president of football operations John Elway, left, holds the AFC Championship trophy next to head coach Gary Kubiak following the NFL football AFC Championship game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Denver. The Broncos defeated the Patriots 20-18 to advance to the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) — David Zalubowski

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Two years ago, the Denver Broncos touted the highest-scoring offense the league had ever seen, a record-breaking bunch that piled up 606 points in steamrolling to the Super Bowl.

It all imploded during a stunning 43-8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks and their "Legion of Boom" secondary.

As he slogged through the rubble of yet another Super Bowl landslide, general manager John Elway, who lost three of them by a combined 96 points before capping his Hall of Fame career with back-to-back rings, embarked on an extreme makeover.

He transformed his offensive juggernaut into a defensive powerhouse like Seattle's, maybe better.

The defense that will line up for Denver on Feb. 7 against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers includes just three starters from the Broncos' last Super Bowl appearance: linebacker Danny Trevathan and linemen Malik Jackson and Sylvester Williams.

Two months after that 35-point whooping, Elway signed thumpers DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib to free agent contracts worth $109.5 million combined.

Von Miller and Chris Harris Jr. each visited Dr. James Andrews for ACL surgeries, then rehabbed together, pushing each other back into All-Pro form. And Derek Wolfe recovered from a seizure disorder that also rendered him a helpless sideline spectator during that nightmare in New Jersey.

Then, Elway got lucky. Twice.

All Big-Ten cornerback Bradley Roby of Ohio State was expected to go to a rebuilder as a consensus top-15 talent in the 2014 draft. But he found himself in Denver at No. 31 after a couple of run-ins with the law that hurt his draft stock but didn't scare away Elway.

Roby, suspended for the Buckeyes' first game his senior season after being accused of getting in a bar fight, resolved a citation for operating a vehicle while under the influence just before draft weekend by pleading guilty to a reduced charge.

Roby began his NFL career by declaring "I'm not a bad guy."

He said the bouncer was the aggressor in the bar brouhaha, and that he was asleep behind the wheel, not driving drunk. "I can honestly say in those situations I have never committed a crime. I'm going to rest my case on that," he said. "I'm not a bad guy, not a guy you have to worry about off the field."

He's a guy opponents have had to worry about aplenty on the field.

Teaming with Talib and Harris, Roby gives the Broncos the best cornerback combo in the league.

Last year, lightning struck again.

When a state trooper found weed in his car after stopping him for speeding just four days before the NFL draft, Shane Ray knew he hadn't helped himself.

His misdemeanor citation certainly wound up costing him financially after he fell from a projected top-10 pick all the way to No. 23. The Broncos traded up to grab the SEC defensive player of the year.

And like Roby a year earlier, Ray suddenly found himself in an ideal situation.

"If you're going to fall," said his mother, Sabrina Johnson, "who better to catch you than John Elway?"

And who better to learn from than Miller and Ware?

Instead of serving as a cornerstone for a rebuilding franchise, Ray is playing for a Super Bowl-bound team alongside a pair of top pass rushers he's long admired.

Recreational pot shops are almost as common as 7-Elevens in Denver. While that might have seemed like a problem waiting to happen, Elway dismissed any such notion, stressing that while cannabis is cool in Colorado, "it's still illegal in the NFL."

Ray, subjected to random drug testing from the get-go, insisted he was no pothead and vowed to put his marijuana mistake behind him. Like Roby, Ray has been a model citizen and teammate. He teamed with Shaq Barrett, an undrafted free agent who transformed himself from a practice squad player last year into a pass-rushing menace. The two combined for 9 1-2 sacks.

When the Broncos inquired about Browns left tackle Joe Thomas at the trade deadline, any chance of bolstering Denver's O-line was scuttled when Cleveland asked for Barrett.

Together, Ray and Barrett provided a second wave of pass-rushing pressure that kept Miller and Ware fresh for the kinds of performances Denver's defense provided Sunday, when the Broncos hit Tom Brady 23 times.

Roby made the game-saving interception of Brady's 2-point conversion attempt to tie it with 12 seconds left, sending Denver back to the Super Bowl — this time with the defense Elway so desperately desired.

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