Johnny Manziel won't play in finale

ByJeremy Fowler ESPN logo
Tuesday, December 23, 2014

CLEVELAND -- The Johnny Football experiment is over for 2014.

Johnny Manziel will miss the Cleveland Browns' season finale at Baltimore with the hamstring injury that sidelined him in Sunday's 17-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Manziel's season ends with 18 completions on 35 passes for 175 yards on 15 drives and roughly seven quarters of NFL play.

Brian Hoyer is questionable for the Ravens game. He suffered a shoulder injury in the second half Sunday, and a league source told ESPN's Adam Caplan that Hoyer also has a badly bruised biceps in the game. That prompted the Browns to elevate undrafted rookie Connor Shaw from the practice squad. Shaw will get significant first-team reps this week, coach Mike Pettine said, and the Browns also could sign a backup.

The Browns called Rex Grossman about joining the team for one week, but that move is unlikely, as Grossman said the two sides couldn't work out business logistics during Christmas week.

Manziel hurt his hamstring on a third-and-1 throw to Josh Gordon in the second quarter Sunday, and he reaggravated the injury on a designed run in the next offensive series. The Browns did not know about Manziel's injury between series.

Manziel, who completed 3 of 8 passes for 32 yards Sunday, is dealing with a "several-week injury," Pettine said, meaning he'd lose mobility if he tried to play. The Browns got a limited on-the-field evaluation of Manziel entering the offseason.

"The sample size is tough," Pettine said about what he saw from Manziel. "Going back and looking at it, he did some good things ... It is unfortunate he got hurt."

Manziel indicated after Sunday's game he hoped to be "the guy" for Cleveland's offense in the future and felt frustrated he didn't get to showcase more.

"This has motivated me more to head into this offseason," Manziel said.

Manziel's production included an impressive length-of-field drive as a relief quarterback in Buffalo but rough stretches after that, including three-play drives on eight of 10 tries between losses to Cincinnati and Carolina.

Hoyer did not damage his shoulder structurally but is dealing with a significant bruise. The shoulder was "very sore" Monday, Pettine said.

Hoyer was injured when he was driven into the ground by Kawann Short on a second-and-14 play with 4:48 left. Hoyer could barely get up after the hit, and the Browns had to call a timeout to let him catch his breath.

Shaw manned the practice squad all season and served as a scout-team quarterback, mirroring opposing quarterbacks such as Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees for the defense. Shaw was lights-out in his lone preseason appearance against Washington, completing 8 of 9 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown.

"He's not the biggest guy, he's not the strongest guy, but he finds a way to be productive," Pettine said about the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Shaw. "His strength lies in his competitiveness."

Pettine said Hoyer and Manziel didn't play their best because they didn't get help from the supporting cast in the season's second half, which deepens the intrigue with the team's offseason quarterback evaluation.

"There's a lot to soak in," Pettine said. "We're going to evaluate everything we've done in football operations from A to Z. Quarterback will be a big part of it."

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