Click the link for an updated version of this story: Browns coach Mike Pettine hopes Johnny Manziel isn’t done in Cleveland: ‘This isn’t a dead end. This is a hurdle’



Browns coach Mike Pettine conceded his decision to demote Johnny Manziel from starter to third on the depth chart Tuesday will hurt the franchise's ability to evaluate the 22nd overall pick in last year's draft as a potential quarterback of the future, but Pettine felt compelled to make the move anyway.



"It does have an impact," Pettine said Wednesday during a news conference. "We do have a much better sense than we did a year ago. I think from a pure, quarterbacking play standpoint the arrow is up. But I didn't want that to be a deciding factor in this: 'Well, let's not do anything because we need to see.' This was too important. It's something that is regrettable, but we feel we had to do."



Pettine explained he made the call to bench Manziel because he partied last week during the team's bye-week break just days after he had been named the starter and discussed the organization's expectations for his off-field behavior with Pettine, offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and quarterbacks coach Kevin O'Connell. Pettine stressed quarterback will always be held to a higher standard than any other position on the team.



"It's the trust, the accountability part of it," Pettine said. "It was right on the heels of discussions that not just I had with him but Kevin O'Connell and Flip and just that that trust was violated.



"I can't emphasize the importance of the trust and the accountability piece [enough]. This is where we had an obvious shortcoming."



Pettine was asked whether Manziel left for his brief vacation aware he was on a zero-tolerance policy.



"I think that was made reasonably clear to him," Pettine replied.



Of course, Manziel's partying is a concern because of his history. Rampant partying last year led to him spending more than 10 weeks this past offseason in an inpatient rehabilitation facility specializing in alcohol and drug addiction treatment.



"We want what's best for him," Pettine said. "There's no personal rift between he and I. I like being in the quarterback room. I like being around those guys on the field, very positive interaction. There's nobody that's going to be more proud when he does turn the corner and he's a success. I don't think anybody will be more proud than I am. But when you're a parent, you know the concept of tough love is usually the best, and this is taking a step back to hopefully take several forward."



Pettine said the team never considered cutting Manziel, even though it dropped him all the way to third on the depth chart. Josh McCown is the starting quarterback, and Austin Davis will serve as his primary backup moving forward. Pettine said "things can change" when asked if Manziel will remain the No. 3 quarterback for the final six games this season.



Has Manziel played his last game with the Browns?



"I certainly hope not," Pettine replied. "He's made great progress. There's no better proof than last Sunday against Pittsburgh [when Manziel threw for a career-high 372 yards in a 30-9 loss]. But sometimes you've got to take a step back to take a few forward. We told him yesterday: This isn't a dead end. This is a hurdle. It's an obstacle. Part of success is dealing with adversity, and this will be an example of it."



Pettine said he's on the same page with owner Jimmy Haslam and General Manager Ray Farmer regarding the decision to bench Manziel.



"We all feel the same way: disappointed but not ready to give up, encouraged by the progress that he's shown, especially from a football standpoint, from a pure quarterbacking standpoint," Pettine said. "... But on the personal front, we all recognize that he still has a ways to go."



Pettine said Manziel was disappointed when he broke the news to him Tuesday afternoon.



"This is a decision that I know for him in particular stings in the short term," Pettine said. "But feel it's absolutely necessary to maximize his chance for future success.



"This is a heavy dose of adversity. We'll see how he handles it."



How can Manziel re-earn Pettine's trust?



"It'll be a process. There's no magical solution," Pettine answered. "We tell our players you lose trust in buckets and you regain it in drops, and I think that certainly applies here."



Will the Browns ask Manziel to go back to rehab or encourage him to do so?



"Certainly a lot of things will get discussed, but I won't go into the details," Pettine replied. "It is very private."