Browns quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains told an Arkansas radio station that team owner Jimmy Haslam pulled the trigger on a decision to draft quarterback Johnny Manziel.
During an interview on SportsTalk with Bo Mattingly on ESPN Arkansas 96.3, Loggains said that Manziel requested the Browns draft him via a text message 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 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 he 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 a news conference after the first round.
“He definitely added some interest level behind the discussions that were happening, but nonetheless, he was allowing us to go to work.”
Earlier this week, Haslam told the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club in Canton that it was all Farmer’s decision.
“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,” Haslam told the audience.
He said he understands the importance of the quarterback position.
“I thought it was very important that we take a quarterback this year,” Haslam said. “We picked the top-rated quarterback on our board when he was available. That was solely Ray’s call, not my call.”