Manziel to start for Browns


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BEREA, Ohio (AP) — It’s all in front of Johnny Manziel: The chance to silence the critics and prove he belongs in the NFL. On Sunday, Manziel can re-start his career. His shot at redemption.

Manziel will start Cleveland’s home opener against Tennessee — and fellow Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota — because Josh McCown remains out with a concussion sustained when he was hit while trying to dive into the end zone on the opening drive last week in New York.

This will be Manziel’s third NFL start, and he’s counting on it going a lot better than the two last year when Johnny Football was an ill-prepared, overwhelmed rookie who didn’t look the part of a pro quarterback.

Following an offseason that included a 10-week stint in rehab and a renewed commitment to his profession, Manziel feels more prepared to take on the Titans than he did a year ago when his first start against Cincinnati ended with an embarrassing 30-0 shellacking at home.

“I definitely feel I’m in a lot better place now,” he said Friday. “So I guess if I thought I was prepared then, I think I’m even more prepared now. I definitely feel a lot better.”

Always composed in front of cameras and microphones, Manziel fired back at one of his harshest critics, ESPN’s Merril Hoge. After watching Manziel relieve McCown and struggle in the season opener against the Jets, Hoge said the Browns should “cut bait, get another guy in there and go in another direction — immediately. Move on.”

Manziel had some fashion advice for Hoge.

“Merrill Hoge needs to worry about his big neck ties,” Manziel said with a slight smile. “He’s been that way since I decided to come out for the draft, so I guess that’s part of it, but no extra motivation or extra bump for me or anything like that. It’s just, go out and play and quiet him with the way we go out and win on Sunday. That’s what we want to do.”

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