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Manziel faces 'harsh' repercussions for another slip-up

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Johnny Manziel is back under center for Cleveland, but Browns coach Mike Pettine made it clear on Wednesday that another off-field slip-up by the second-year quarterback could put his season on ice.

"It would be hard for me to sit here and say we have a zero-tolerance policy, but if something were to occur, I could imagine that the repercussions would be harsh," said Pettine, who added that Manziel has a chance to change perceptions over the final four games of the year.

"We had the well-documented violation of trust, but everything else has been solid, the preparation in the building," Pettine said. "Even when he wasn't the guy, whether it was Josh (McCown) or whether it was Austin (Davis), he was very supportive. He upheld his responsibilities as the backup as is required in that room. We've seen the improvement that he took. The Pittsburgh game wasn't that long ago." 

Pettine called Manziel's bye-week drama a "step backwards," but acknowledged that footage of the former Texas A&M star clubbing in Austin "didn't have anything to do with football."

"We have a guy that we've invested a lot in," Pettine said. "We have four games left, and this will give us a good sense of where we are with that room moving forward."

Although Pettine is willing to give Manziel another chance, it appears the quarterback didn't completely agree with his coach's decision to bench him.

"I was forced to learn a hard lesson," Manziel said, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer. "I had to learn the hard way and I'm lucky to be back in the position that I'm in and being the starter again so I'm definitely not taking that lightly. That's for sure.

"In coach Pettine's mind, he thought that was necessary to get the harsh point across to me," Manziel continued. "Did I like it? No. Did I have to sit there with a bad taste in my mouth and accept the consequences for my actions? Sure. I did and I tried to help the guys out these past couple weeks as best I could and it was hard going into the uncertainty of last week and not know was going to happen either and have to sit another week."

Manziel's play is the last remaining ounce of intrigue for a Browns team tumbling toward the No. 1 overall draft pick. Eternally searching for stability at the game's most important position, Cleveland could end its campaign on a hopeful note if Johnny continues to grow.

The Browns, though, have no idea if Manziel will treat this opportunity differently than he did the last. If he strays again, these final games of the season could be his last in a Cleveland uniform.

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