"We're not ready to shut the door on him,"Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas said of the benched quarterback, per Daryl Ruiter of WKRK-FM. "It's a step back for him."
Thomas, though, acknowledged that the locker room supports Mike Pettine's decision to demote the former Texas A&M star after a series of photos and videos showing Manziel allegedly partying during the team's bye week surfaced in recent days.
"I'll let coach Pettine dig into the justification, but I think it's probably more than just what you see on the surface from a TMZ report or whatever report," Thomas said. "Like I said, we support coach's decision."
Quarterback Josh McCown, back in the starter's nest, told reporters that "you never want to regain a job this way," adding, per The Plain Dealer: "Any teammate, you'd be disappointed for them. You want the best for people."
McCown praised Manziel for accepting the decision with poise and working hard and taking notes in the quarterback room on Wednesday. One of the better teammates league-wide, McCown displayed genuine remorse for Manziel.
Plenty of Browns fans are upset to see Johnny benched after waiting so long to see him take a lead role, but one player after the next came out in support of Pettine.
Wideout Brian Hartline said, per Ruiter, that "how we handle our business and go about things is on us and we stand behind the coach."
It's not just the players. Set to face McCown and the Browns on Monday night, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh praised Pettine's handling of a controversial decision, saying, per the Akron Beacon Journal: "I certainly can understand what he's doing and (have) nothing but respect for what he's doing."