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Johnny Manziel: Browns vets rallied around me vs. Bills

Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine faces a season-defining decision this week: Will he or won't he hand the offense over to rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel?

Saying Sunday that "the door is definitely open for a change," Pettine later told NFL Media's Albert Breer that picking between veteran Brian Hoyer and Manziel will boil down to "just pure football."

"You look at confidence," Pettine said after Cleveland's 26-10 loss to the Bills. "Confidence the player has in himself, and confidence the other guys on the team would have."

After veteran teammates called Manziel "arguably the best No. 2" in the league in August, they went out of their way to welcome him into the fold on Sunday before he guided the Browns on an electric eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive capped by his 10-yard scamper into the end zone.

"When I was told to go in today, I feel like those guys rallied around me for that little bit," Manziel said. "I mean they came up to me, making sure I was locked in, they were encouraging me and they rallied around me for that little bit. So If I were to be the guy moving forward, you want to carry that a little bit, that weight, even though its one drive and it's a small part of this whole entire football game, I still feel I am very thankful for those guys."

Hoyer has earned praise from his teammates, too, after guiding the Browns to a 7-5 record and 21-plus points in nine of those starts. Five interceptions over the past two weeks, though, have pressed Pettine and his men into a decision that will dictate where this fascinating campaign ultimately goes.

The Browns have gotten this far by making bold choices on and off the field. Everything we're hearing from Pettine tells us that anointing Manziel will be Cleveland's next big move.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Sunday game from Week 13 and debates whether Johnny Manziel deserves the starting job. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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