Never has an itty bitty text message echoed so loudly across Northeast Ohio such as the one quarterback Johnny Manziel sent to his future quarterback coach on draft night.
When Cleveland Browns quarterback coach Dowell Loggains spoke on an ESPN affiliate radio station in Arkansas, it created a minor brouhaha.
In his first minicamp interview with the media, he downplayed it.
“I wouldn’t exactly call it legendary,” he said of the text message.
In it he expressed his desire to be a Cleveland Brown. Considering statements made by Teddy Bridgewater, another prospective quarterback draft choice for the team, it resonated with the team. Bridgewater told sports journalist Dan Patrick that he would have preferred to not be in Cleveland.
“I thought I had a good relationship with coach Loggains and he was probably only one of the people to text me while the draft was going on and he just kind of let me know that there were some opportunities to try get me at an earlier slot,” Manziel said.
After selecting cornerback Justin Gilbert with the No. 8 selection, the Browns had a first-round pick remaining at No. 26. Manziel slipped through the cracks, falling behind Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, and the Browns soon faced a choice. In the text he asked the team to come get him.
He’d been one of three individuals the Browns targeted later in the first round, coach Mike Pettine said. The other two went off the board before Manziel. The team eventually sent a third-round selection and their first-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles to move up to No. 22, so they could draft the Texas A&M star.
Pettine confirmed that the text happened.
“In the draft room, when I got it, I questioned Dowell as to whether he made the text up himself in order to get us to turn the card in,” he said.
However, the text had an effect in that draft room.
“When Dowell sent me the text that he wanted to come to Cleveland, I think that it just really added to the excitement in the room and were fired up to turn the card in,” Pettine said.
Pettine said that he didn’t have to speak to Loggains regarding the interview and that he knew how the interview was perceived. At this point, it doesn’t matter.
“I don’t know what kind of influence that had or what exactly that did, but this is a place I wanted to be and ended up here,” Manziel said.