The Cleveland Browns quarterback coach told an Arkansas radio station that team owner Jimmy Haslam pulled the trigger on the decision to draft quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Dowell Loggains said during an interview on SportsTalk with Bo Mattingly on ESPN Arkansas 96.3 that Manziel requested the Browns draft him as his draft status continued to fall.
“I wish you guys would come get me. Hurry up and draft me because I want to wreck this league together,” Manziel reportedly said in a text to his new position coach during the draft.
That is when Haslam stepped into action.
“When I got that text, I forwarded it to the owner (Jimmy Haslam) and to the head coach (Mike Pettine). I'm like, ‘This guy wants to be here. He wants to be part of it.’ As soon as that happened, Mr. Haslam said, ‘Pull the trigger. We're trading up to go get this guy.’”
The Browns successfully completed a trade that allowed them to move from No. 26 to No. 22 to get Manziel. They also tried to move to No. 11 and No. 16 at different points.
The word was out that Haslam had fallen in love with Manziel as a player. But there were also denials as to whether the Browns owner influenced any draft strategy.
“At no point during the draft did Jimmy try to influence the decisions that were made. He was well aware – obviously, he was in the room – but at no point did he try to push, shove or dictate the pace of what we were doing,” General Manager Ray Farmer said in his post first-round news conference.
“He definitely added some interest level behind the discussions that were happening, but nonetheless, he was allowing us to go to work.”
And Haslam told the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club that it was all Farmer’s decision earlier this week.
“At the end of the day, Ray's the one that decided to make the trade. Ray's the one who decided to pick Johnny Manziel. Ray's the one who made those call and that's his job,” he told the audience.
He said he did understand the importance of the quarterback position.
“I thought it was very important that we take a quarterback this year,” he said. “We picked the top-rated quarterback on our board when he was available. That was solely Ray's call, not my call.”
Some could view this as a Jerry Jones move. The Dallas Cowboys owner, who also serves as their general manager, receives consistent criticism because of his personnel decisions that have left the Cowboys with only one playoff win in the last 17 years.
This continues a string of public relations snafus that have embroiled the team since the offseason began. From firing coach Rob Chudzinski to canning Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi, the Browns have taken a beating locally and nationally.
The national whipping began this week when the Browns told the national media that they were limiting access to Manziel to try to ensure his presence doesn’t become a three-ring circus
Unfortunately for the Browns it appears that Haslam could be the ringmaster.