Legendary former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath told NFL Network on June 9 that he would love to have Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel play on his team.
"Joe Namath can relate to Johnny Manziel.
"Namath was never a stranger to the spotlight during a Hall of Fame career spent mostly with the New York Jets. Tales of the quarterback's nightlife were nearly as legendary as his play -- and his play was pretty darn good.
"Manziel, like Namath, has a taste for the pleasures the come with being young, rich and wildly famous. Manziel's Vegas jaunt over Memorial Day weekend provided endless fodder during a slow time on the NFL calendar. A trip to Austin this past weekend brought more scrutiny.
"During a Monday interview on 'NFL Total Access,' Namath defended the Cleveland Browns quarterback.
"'What diference does it make, really?' Namath said when asked if Manziel's criticism has been warranted. 'And it is an example of the different eras and time. I do know this about Johnny Manziel: I haven't seen anyone perform any better than Johnny the last two seasons on that football field.
"'And I do know that we love entertainment. Football is a sport, but it is show biz. It is entertainment. And Johnny -- he's gotta live his life, man...I've been to Vegas, you guys have probably been to Vegas. Give the man a little bit of room. But, in his position, he's not entitled to be a regular guy, 22 years old, 21 years old. Everything's blowing out of whack.
"'I'd love him on my team, let me just say that.'
"Asked what advice he'd give Manziel, Namath offered that the quarterback should do his best to avoid JFF coverage altogether.
"'Johnny, you know what you're doing, you know what your team is doing; trust in that,' he said. 'Other people have a tendency to paint us as individuals and the way they see us, or our team and teammates. I'd tell Johnny, just go ahead and live his life and make sure he does what's right with his team and society. He'll be cool.'
"Namath is uniquely qualified to offer perspective on Manziel's situation. He's also proof you can be an elite quarterback and have a good time while doing it. Namath has blazed a trail Manziel would do well to walk."
Namath also gave an advanced Father's Day tribute a New York City firefighter, Lt. Larry Mack, per ESPN New York:
"In case you missed it, 'Good Morning America' did a terrific piece Monday on a New York City firefighter named Lt. Larry Mack. It's a Father's Day theme, telling the story of how Mack became a surrogate father to the children of his best friend, the late Lt. Vinnie Halloran, a fellow firefighter who perished on Sept. 11.
"What does this have to do with the New York Jets? Mack happens to be a lifelong fan. To honor Mack for the uncommon loyalty and selflessness, GMA throws a tailgate party at a firehouse in the Bronx, complete with the Jets' Flight Crew, a live appearance by former wide reciever Wayne Chrebet and a taped video message from Hall of Famer Joe Namath.
"'Lieutenant, I want to thank you for four years of service to our beloved city of New York,' Namath says. 'I know you spent many a football Sunday with the kids and make sure they're wearing the green and white, OK?
"'I also know you are a wonderful father and great role model. So, man, from one dad to another, I want to wish you an early Happy Father's Day, and go Jets!'
"A positively ebullient Mack, watching a screen in the firehouse, pumps his fist and exclaims, 'Joe Willie!' Mack was invited to sit in a luxury suite at the Jets' game against the Chicago Bears and he will receive a tour of the Florham Park facility from Nick Mangold."
In another development, Browns head coach Mike Pettine confirmed to The Northeast Ohio Media Group's Tom Reed on June 8 that the team turned down an offer from HBO to appear on this year's edition of "Hard Knocks":
"Pettine confirms the Browns rejected an opportunity to be considered for the HBO Hard Knocks series. He said the club was approached before it drafted Manziel.
"Teams with first-year coaches have the right to decline.
"'It was for the same reason we didn't feel super comfortable having a camera in the draft room,' Pettine said. 'Let's get through the first time, let's get through the first year.'
"With Manziel on the roster it's hard to imagine HBO not making another run at the Browns next season.
"'There are positives and negatives to doing it,' said Pettine, who was part of a Hard Knocks season with the (New York) Jets. 'It's not something I would say we'd never do, partly because the league can make us do it.'
"Pettine said he's not sure if HBO made a second request for the upcoming training camp after the Browns selected Manziel.
"I wasn't directly contacted by them, but they might have,' the coach said."