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Manziel-Hoyer drama remains hot item in Browns' minicamp

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jun 05 2014 04:12:32 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 06 2014 10:16:34 AM CDT
Cleveland Browns helmet

NFL

BEREA, Ohio -

It is not difficult to do the math. Less of quarterback Brian Hoyer means more Johnny Manziel.

Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine is leaning toward restricting Hoyer in the mandatory minicamp next week, just as he has throughout OTAs and when whenever Hoyer is on the sideline, Manziel is running the first team.

In OTAs, such as this week, the workouts are supposed to be non-contact. To make sure, defensive linemen simulate a pass rush by taking two steps and stopping so they do not accidentally hit Hoyer in the right knee. Hoyer's ACL was torn in a game against the Bills on Oct. 3 last year.

But as Pettine continues to take measures to protect Hoyer, it will certainly keep the focus on the Manziel-Hoywer battle.

"You never want to see someone else doing your job," Hoyer said. "That's the biggest thing for me. I feel I'm ready. "I know a lot of people who come back from this injury talk about the mental aspect. I think I conquered that months ago."

Still he admits he needs to reconcile how the team is protecting him.

"So I know they emphasized (being restricted in practice) it's the best thing in my interest and for the team, but as the competitor in me I want to be out there with my guys, calling the plays and running them," Hoyer said. "And really my argument is, OTAs, are they that important? For me, they are. This isn't my third year in this offense. I'm trying to get out there and read plays that I haven't ever run before."

Running back Ben Tate says all the attention being heaped on Manziel is making it difficult for the rookie to concentrate on his job.

"It's not really sympathy, it's just as a player I know I would get tired if people were monitoring if I picked my nose, if I spit to the left or right," Tate said. "It's annoying. He's a human being. He's a great football player. I get why he gets the constant media attention. I just think he wants to come in here and do his job and try to win the starting quarterback position."

The Browns agreed to a contract with linebacker Chris Kirksey, the 71st pick of the 2014 draft. Kirksey is the second of six draft picks to come to terms. The Browns also signed fourth-round pick Pierre Desir, a cornerback from Lindenwood.

Kirksey is challenging Craig Robertson for a starting job at inside linebacker. He made 315 tackles, 5.5 sacks, four interceptions, seven fumble recoveries and five forced fumbles in his career at Iowa. Kirksey returned two interceptions for touchdowns and one fumble for a touchdown.

Wide receiver Nate Burleson plans to have the cast removed from his right arm next week. Doctors had to insert a metal plate in his arm last year when he was injured in a traffic accident while with the Lions. He said his arm got "banged up" during a practice with the Browns. The original surgery had to be repaired.

"It's kind of rebuilt like Robocop,'' he said. "Sometimes you've got to go in and fix it a little bit. It was minor, though. I've had much worse. The good news is the plan is to play 16-plus games. It's going to happen.''

Burleson was talking about playoffs -- not preseason -- when he predicted playing 16-plus games.

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