Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel brushed off Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis' on-air comment about him this week, referring to Manziel as "a midget" when asked about his mobility. The Browns and Bengals square off in Cleveland in Week 15 of the 2014 NFL season.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel isn't making a big deal of Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis' "midget" comments about him.
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It all started on Dec. 8, when Lewis made a comment during a radio interview on Cincinnati's WLW-AM, per ESPN. The show's host asked Lewis how he and the Bengals planned to stymie Manziel, who will replace a struggling Brian Hoyer. Lewis said,"You gotta go defende the offense. You don't defend the player. Particularly a midget."
The ESPN report mentions Lewis later apologized for his comments. He quipped,"I apologize to Johnny, the Browns and all the fans in Cleveland. It was just a poor remark. I really didn't mean anything by it."
ESPN Cincinnati Bengals reporter Coley Harvey included an updated apology from Lewis in his Dec. 10 report:
"I'm aware that my comment on local radio [Monday] night was offensive to people of short stature and to their families and friends. It was thoughtless on my part to used the word I did, and not excusable, and I greatly regret it. I have since read about this issue on the Little People of America website.
"I understand it better, and as I have apologized to Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns' community, I offer the same to all others who I offended, and I pledge that I will learn from this.
"I hope that my mistake and the resultant publicity may serve to at least help others not make similar insensitive comments in the future."
According to FOX Sports Ohio's Zac Johnson, Manziel just laughed off Lewis' "midget" remark. Manziel said,"My height is my height. I'm not going to sprout five inches." He also said he's never heard anyone make fun of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees' height.
Browns head coach Mike Pettine also talked to Lewis about his comments, per Johnson. Pettine refuted the notion that Lewis' remark was meant to make opposing coaches take Manziel's abilities lightly.
On the other hand, The Northeast Ohio Media Group's Mary Kay Cabot spoke with Manziel, who confirmed all is well with him and Hoyer:
"I think what gets lost a lot throughout all this having a younger guy and then a veteran and they're competing throughout the whole camp, there's kind of a general misconception that me and Brian don't get along all the time. I know I saw something last weekend about me mumbling on the sideline. Me and Brian have a great relationship. We're teammates. We're not enemies.
"There's nothing like that. I feel he's fully behind me. He's obviously disappointed. But I'm sure it's obviously a little bit more of the same feeling that I've had throughout the course of the year, but Brian has handled it like a professional that he his and mine and his relationship, we're teammates. We look out for each other. He's done that for me and vice versa."
Hoyer expressed his confidence in Manziel, per Cabot:
"Yeah, Johnny's a good football player. You don't win the Heisman Trophy as a freshman for not being a good football player. You don't get drafted in the first round if you're not a good football player. It'll be good for him to get to practice this week, and then get a chance to go out and play."
The Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns will square off on Sunday, Dec. 14, at 1 p.m. ET.
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