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Farmer: Haslam did not influence Johnny Manziel pick

Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer was one of the big winners of the 2014 NFL Draft.

He drafted a defensive cornerstone in Justin Gilbert and the new face of the franchise in Johnny Manziel, while plucking a pair of 2015 draft picks from the Bills in the process.

Farmer made it clear Saturday night that it was him calling the shots -- not owner Jimmy Haslam -- in the draft's war room.

"I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that Jimmy Haslam at no point demanded, requested, tried to influence the process in any way," Farmer said, via The Plain Dealer. "He definitely asked questions, he'll definitely give his opinion of what he thinks and all of those things are fine.

"But at the end of the day, he trusted the football staff to make the decisions that we thought were the right decisions for this football team."

After the Browns made sweeping changes twice in two years, it was fair to wonder if Haslam might thrust himself into major draft decisions such as picking Manziel. In his short time at the helm, Haslam has proven to be one of the most hands-on owners in the league.

Under his watch, the Browns became the first NFL team to fire both their head coach and general manager after just one season on the job.

It doesn't follow, however, that he would take over his organization's draft process, forcing his football guys to select a marquee player who will galvanize the fan base and bring national attention to Cleveland.

That speculation grew legs because multiple national media outlets misinterpreted a nuanced report from ESPN's Sal Paolantonio that a homeless person helped convince Haslam that Browns fans were clamoring for Johnny Football leading up to the draft.

Of course, the Browns could have prevented that narrative if they had not spoonfed a mawkish story to Paolantonio in the first place.

*The "Around The League Podcast" wrapped up the draft by picking our winners and losers. *

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