The Cleveland Browns provided the most drama on draft weekend, from general manager Ray Farmer's deals to a homeless man's wishes to Josh Gordon's potential suspension. But the craziest story of all seems too nutty to believe.
ESPN Cleveland's Tony Grossi had a source who says the draft card prepared to be given Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York originally had Teddy Bridgewater's name on it. According to the source, the name was replaced with Johnny Manziel's name with 10 seconds left on the clock because of owner Jimmy Haslam.
"That is not true," said Browns spokesman Zak Gilbert. "I was in the draft room. That didn't happen."
Coach Mike Pettine came even stronger on the topic Monday at a charity golf event Monday via The Plain Dealer, saying the suggestion was "beyond laughable."
Farmer said after the draft that Haslam in no way tried to influence the draft process.
The Bridgewater card story sounds too ridiculous and too ripped from the movies to be true. But there's no way to know the truth now, and we probably never will. We do know that Browns fans unfortunately have to deal with wacky stories like this trailing them around like a cloud of dust. Even if the story sounds fantastical, enough crazy things have happened in Cleveland just since Haslam arrived to make you wonder.
The Browns are covered differently than almost any other team. The town clearly loves football, as does its local media. But the relationship between the Browns media and team sometimes seems uncomfortably close, careening between overly positive to pained, which is the other side of homerism. It is in this atmosphere that wild conspiracy theories are created.