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Falcons lose draft pick for piping in crowd noise; Browns GM suspended 4 games 03.30.15 at 2:10 pm ET
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The Falcons will forfeit a fifth-round draft pick and be fined $350,000 by the NFL for piping in crowd noise during opponents’ huddles in home games during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

The responsible party has been identified by the NFL as former Falcons director of marketing Roddy White. White has been fired by the Falcons and given an eight-game suspension by the NFL.

“The Falcons and all of our other businesses are built upon a foundation of values that drive our decision making,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement. “This issue was a clear failure in that regard. I apologize for any embarrassment this situation has caused the NFL, our fans, and our Falcons players and associates.”

Added Blank: “Anytime there are actions that compromise the integrity of the NFL or threaten the culture of our franchise, as this issue did, they will be dealt with swiftly and strongly.”

In other NFL news, Browns GM Ray Farmer has been suspended four games by the NFL, and the team will be fined $250,000. Farmer was investigated and punished for sending texts to team personnel during games throughout the 2014 season.

“I respect the league’s decision and understand that there are consequences for my actions,” Farmer said in a statement. “Accountability is integral to what we are trying to build and as a leader I need to set the right example. I made a mistake and apologize to [owner] Jimmy Haslam, [coach] Mike Pettine, our entire organization and our fans for the ramifications. Learning is a big part of who I am and I will certainly be better from this situation.”

Read More: Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns,
Browns WR Josh Gordon will have to apply for reinstatement after 1-year suspension 02.04.15 at 9:23 am ET
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Josh Gordon

Josh Gordon

Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon was suspended by the league Tuesday for violating the NFL’€™s substance-abuse program. It’€™s the third suspension of his career, and it’€™s the longest, as he is to be kept out for at least one year without pay. Gordon will have to apply for reinstatement.

Gordon has not yet decided whether he will appeal this suspension, as he said in a public letter he posted last week.

“As we have conveyed, we are disappointed to once again be at this point with Josh,” Browns general manager Ray Farmer said in a statement. “Throughout his career we have tried to assist him in getting support like we would with any member of our organization. Unfortunately our efforts have not resonated with him.

“Our hope is that this suspension affords Josh the opportunity to gain some clarity in determining what he wants to accomplish moving forward and if he wants a career in the National Football League.”

In the 2013 season, even though he only played 14 games, Gordon led the league with 1,646 receiving yards. He was not able to repeat that performance, though, as he was suspended for the first 10 games of this past season after initially being suspended indefinitely. After the league revised its drug policy, the ban was trimmed to 10 games. But while waiting for an appeal, Gordon was arrested for a DUI and traffic violations in North Carolina and Ohio, respectively.

He checked himself into rehab for a short stint, but, according to coach Mike Pettine, Gordon was late for meetings and was suspended for the Browns’€™ season finale for not attending a walk-through before the team’€™s flight.

In addition, Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel checked into rehab last week.

Read More: Cleveland Browns, Josh Gordon,
Browns QB Johnny Manziel enters treatment 02.02.15 at 11:16 am ET
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Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel

Just one day after the Patriots won their fourth Super Bowl in the Belichick-Brady era, news surfaced regarding one of the league’s most notable individual stories of the past year. A representative for Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel confirmed that the troubled youngster has started treatment to help resolve some off-field issues.

“Johnny knows there are areas in which he needs to improve in order to be a better family member, friend and teammate and he thought the offseason was the right time to take this step,” a statement released by Manziel’s publicist Denise Michaels read. “On behalf of Johnny and his family, we’re asking for privacy until he rejoins the team in Cleveland.”

Manziel, one of the highest-profile picks in last year’s draft, has had several off the field issues dating back to his days playing for Texas A&M. This season, Manziel has drawn negative attention for partying on multiple occasions, and for his entourage getting into a fight.

Most recently, Manziel was fined by the Browns for oversleeping the day before Cleveland’s final game of the season. Manziel later admitted that he had partied too hard the night before.

Read More: Cleveland Browns, Johnny Manziel,
Browns coach Mike Pettine: ‘I’m not concerned’ about Johnny Manziel’s lifestyle 06.11.14 at 10:13 am ET
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Johnny Manziel can’t escape the spotlight.

In fact, his off-field lifestyle may be a call for it.

But all inflatable swans and trips to Las Vegas aside, Manziel was on the practice field Tuesday as the Browns opened their mandatory three-day mini-camp. And that seemed to be all that mattered to first-year coach Mike Pettine.

“I’m not concerned,” Pettine said after practice on Tuesday. “I would become concerned if it was something criminal and I would be concerned if it affected his job. There’s a lot of our guys, if when they leave here if they were followed around, you’d get some very similar pictures. I don’t know about an inflatable swan, but you’d still get some pictures.”

Pettine said feels no need to monitor Manziel off the field.

“The philosophy here is that we’re not going to micromanage the guys,” Pettine said. “I was involved in an event this weekend, and if there were some cameras at certain times it probably wouldn’t have been the most flattering. It was a group of coaches out and we had a good time, but we were responsible. When it becomes irresponsible or it becomes part of breaking the law or it’s something we feel is a potential problem, we’ll step in.”

Manziel and starting quarterback Brian Hoyer will not be made available to the media this week. Manziel is listed as the team’s backup behind Hoyer, and the two are expected to compete for the starting job in training camp.

Read More: Cleveland Browns, Johnny Manziel,
Browns turn down ‘Hard Knocks’ request 06.10.14 at 11:18 am ET
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The Browns may have Johnny Manziel, but the spotlight will at least be alleviated in some capacity during training camp.

First-year coach Mike Pettine told reporters over the weekend that his team has rejected an offer to star in the popular HBO series “Hard Knocks.” He said the team was approached before drafting Manziel.

“It was for the same reason we didn’t feel super comfortable having a camera in the draft room,” Pettine told The Plain Dealer. “Let’s get through the first time, let’s get through the first year.”

According to NFL rules, a team can avoid selection for the show if it has either a first-year head coach, a playoff berth in the past two seasons or a “Hard Knocks” appearance in the last decade.

Pettine was defensive coordinator of the Jets when the team starred in the series in 2010.

“There are positives and negatives to doing it,” Pettine said. “It’s not something I would say we’d never do, partly because the league can make us do it.”

The eight teams that aren’t exempt from the cameras are the Jaguars, Raiders, Steelers, Bills, Cardinals, Rams, Bears and Giants.

Read More: Cleveland Browns, Hard Knocks, Mike Pettine,
Browns RB Ben Tate on Johnny Manziel: ‘I would get tired’ of media attention 06.04.14 at 9:59 am ET
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Ben Tate is sick of all the attention surrounding Johnny Manziel. But the Browns running back claims it’s more out of sympathy than jealousy.

“It’s just as a player I know that I would get tired if people were constantly monitoring if I picked my nose, if I spit to the left or right,” Tate said after the Browns’ offseason practice Tuesday. “I mean, it’s annoying. He’s a human being.

“He’s a great football player, so I understand why he gets some of the constant media attention. At the same time I just figure at this stage he’s tired of it and he wants to come in here and do his job and try to win the starting quarterback position.”

Tate said that Manziel has received too much attention too soon in his career.

“I feel like it,” Tate said. “He hasn’t played a down in the NFL yet. … I don’t know. … That’s for y’all to figure out.”

Tate followed by taking out his frustration on the media.

“Y’all just hype everything up and make everything bigger than it is,” he said. “That’s what y’all are standing over here for, right?”

Tate added: “Y’all just want to report the fastest story nowadays. Y’all don’t necessarily check sources or see if they’re right anymore.”

Tate’s aggressive may have stemmed from similar comments he made regarding Manziel at an NFLPA event over the weekend, which led to a rant on Twitter.

Read More: Ben Tate, Cleveland Browns, Johnny Manziel,
NFL draft roundup: Johnny Manziel says teams will regret passing on him 05.08.14 at 12:09 pm ET
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After months of debate, discussion and mock scenarios, the 2014 NFL draft is finally set to kick off Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

On the eve of the draft, one of college football’s most polarizing prospects, Texas A&M star Johnny Manzielonce again expressed confidence in his abilities, stating that any team in need of a signal caller that passes on him will regret it.

“I believe they will, personally,” Manziel said. “I know in my heart how good I want to be and how committed I am to this game.”

Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, has drawn a significant amount of criticism over the last few months for off-the-field issues as well as his style of play.

While Manziel told reporters that he has improved as a quarterback in the months leading up to the draft, he also admitted that some of denunciations regarding his style of play have bothered him.

“I see there’€™s room for me to improve, but to say I’m just a backyard-football quarterback, I don’t think you do what I did in college and do some of those things [with that style],” Manziel said. “I don’t think that’s extremely fair. I hear it, but for me, I know it’s all about my work ethic and my will to get better. That’s very alive and inside me. … I don’€™t want to be what I was in college. Obviously, I want to be better.”

Manziel has been linked to the Browns, who currently own the fourth overall pick in the draft. While some, including ESPN’€™s Chris Mortenson, reported that Manziel won’t fall past Cleveland, other reports state that the Browns will not scoop up the quarterback if he’s still on the board.

— South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has long been projected to be one of the top picks in the draft thanks to his potential game-changing speed and ability to disrupt passers.

While it is all but guaranteed that Clowney will be scooped up within the first five picks of the draft, the Rock Hill, S.C., native is confident that the Texans, who hold the first overall pick, will call his name on Thursday night.

“I don’€™t think [the Texans are] going to pass [on me],” Clowney said, adding: “If I have to go No. 2, I’m going to be upset. I’m going to have to do something about it.”

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Read More: Cleveland Browns, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Jadeveon Clowney, Johnny Manziel
Report: Michael Lombardi leaves NFL Network for Browns front office 01.18.13 at 9:21 am ET
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NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi, who was scheduled to conduct his weekly interview with WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, instead apparently was wrapping up his final interview with the Browns. According to a tweet from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Lombardi was named the team’s vice president of player personnel.

Lombardi previoulsy worked in player personnel for the Browns from 1987-95, serving alongside then-Browns coach Bill Belichick from 1991-95. He also has worked for the Raiders, Eagles, Rams and 49ers.

Earlier this month, the Browns hired Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski to be their next coach.

Read More: Cleveland Browns, Michael Lombardi, Rumor Mill,
Report: Browns sign Brandon Weeden to four-year, $8.1 million contract 07.24.12 at 5:25 pm ET
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The Browns reportedly signed the second of their two first-round picks on Tuesday, inking Brandon Weeden to a four-year, $8.1 million deal.

The signing comes a day after the Browns signed third-overall selection Trent Richardson to a four-year, $20.5 million contract.

Weeden, who threw for 4,727 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2011 for Oklahoma State, was drafted 22nd overall by Cleveland in the 2012 NFL draft. The Oklahoma City, Okla. Native will battle for the starting quarterback job with Colt McCoy during training camp and the preseason this year.

At 28-years-old, Weeden is already older than the 25-year-old McCoy, who has already been in the league since being drafted in 2010. Weeden did not begin his college football career until after his five-year baseball career in which he spent time in the Yankees, Dodgers and Royals minor league systems. He did not begin his college football career until 2007, when he enrolled at Oklahoma State and was redshirted at the age of 23.

The Browns are looking to use their two first-round picks to improve their scoring offense, which was 30th in the league last season. The Browns only scored 218 points all season, which was only better than the Chiefs (212 points) and Rams (193 points).

Read More: Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns, Rumor Mill, Trent Richardson
Report: Josh McDaniels talking to Seahawks as negotiations with Rams cool 01.18.11 at 4:13 pm ET
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According to, former Broncos head coach and Patriots assistant coach Josh McDaniels‘ talks with the Rams have hit a “significant snag.” The report suggested that McDaniels had been viewed as the front-runner to take over as offensive coordinator in St. Louis, and that the impasse in contract talks between the coach and team represented “a surprising development,” with one source suggested that negotiations “may have been derailed by the team’s conservative fiscal approach.”

The same report suggests that Seattle is now talking with McDaniels about the possibility of becoming offensive coordinator under Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

“With the firing of Jeremy Bates as Seahawks offensive coordinator, Seattle is giving strong consideration to hiring McDaniels for the vacancy, according to a source with knowledge of the situation,” the report stated.

Read More: Cleveland Browns, Josh McDaniels, Rumor Mill, Seattle Seahawks