"I was on my way back to the hotel and heard his name -- I think my mom or somebody told me that we had Johnny Manziel -- and I looked out the window and started screaming 'Cleveland Browns! Cleveland Browns! We're here!'"
On Friday, "here" meant an introductory news conference that featured Gilbert and Manziel. Gilbert, taken 14 picks ahead of Manziel, was mostly ignored. And "here" means raised expectations for the entire organization.
"I'm used to that," Manziel said Friday. "That's been my life for a while now. For me, the spotlight, expectations, everything that comes with that, I was used to that at (Texas) A&M and I think that will directly help me with what I'm getting into moving forward. The NFL and the way the league is and how big of a deal it is, it's bigger than I'm sure I know. We'll find out. I think that I've been prepared by the past. It'll help me moving forward."
Manziel was not out to make headlines Friday. Looking a bit like a high school kid forced to wear a suit for graduation, Johnny Football sounded like a guy who was ready to be the face of the franchise. He calmly answered silly questions on LeBron, Drake and his choice of beer and champagne on draft day.
"I'm 21 years old," Manziel said with a smile. "It was time to celebrate a lifelong dream with family."
NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala noted that Manziel said all the right things, especially when he heard about the AFC North coaches who texted Aditi about how much Manziel will get hit in their division.
"I'm sure I have a little bit of a target on my back, and I expect that. I had that last year as well and the NFL is a tough league, and this is a defensive division as well that hits hard, and it's in cold weather. So for me, it's football; play the game and continue to get better. We're scheming for them just as much as they're scheming for us, so we'll see on Sunday," Manziel said.