Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NFL Notebook: Browns Turn to Manziel Again at QB

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NFL Notebook: Browns Turn to Manziel Again at QB

Article excerpt

Manziel back as starter for Browns

Johnny Manziel's timeout has ended. He's starting for the Cleveland Browns again.

The polarizing quarterback will play Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, returning to the lineup after being benched two games by coach Mike Pettine for defiantly partying during the team's bye week.

Pettine is giving Manziel another chance after the second-year QB broke a promise that he wouldn't become a distraction when the team was off last month. Manziel had been named the starter for Cleveland's final six games on Nov. 17 only to throw away the opportunity with his escapades.

He was demoted to third string but moved up one spot last week when Josh McCown sustained a season-ending collarbone break.

Pettine feels Johnny Football has paid his dues.

"He's been solid in the building over the last couple of weeks and we are hopeful he takes this opportunity to continue to build on the progress he's made on the field throughout the season," Pettine said. "The goal for every game is to go out and win, and Johnny needs to show that he can put us in position to do so during these last four weeks of the season."

Manziel will replace former Ram Austin Davis, who started Sunday's 37-3 loss to Cincinnati. Davis, the 24th quarterback to start for the Browns since 1999, didn't do anything to lose his job, but not enough to hang on to it, either. The Browns lost two wide receivers to injuries against the Bengals.

NFC East is least * Players and coaches in the NFC East won't be apologizing anytime soon for their woeful division having a spot in the playoffs with a home game, no less.

Neither will Dallas owner and general manager Jerry Jones.

"I'm going to go back to that old saying: It's an ugly baby, but it's my baby," Jones said on his radio show Tuesday, a day after the Cowboys beat Washington to drop the Redskins into a three-way tie with Philadelphia and the New York Giants for the East lead at 5-7.

Dallas, which won the division at 12-4 last season, is one game back despite just two victories in 10 weeks. And the Cowboys (4-8) are headed to Green Bay after finally winning without quarterback Tony Romo a first in eight tries this season. …

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