NFL notes: Browns cut Johnny Football – STLtoday.com
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Quarterback Johnny Manziel, the scrambling, Heisman Trophy-winning college star who hasn’t come close to matching his hype in the NFL, was released Friday by the Cleveland Browns following two turbulent and troubling seasons.
Manziel’s unceremonious exit — the team sent out a brief statement with a few stats and no comment — ends a drama-filled stay in Cleveland for the 23-year-old, who faces an uncertain future on and off the field. For the first time since he started throwing a football as a kid growing up in Texas, Manziel isn’t a wanted player, and he’s contending with possible criminal charges for a recent domestic incident in which his ex-girlfriend claimed he struck and threatened to kill her.
The Browns drafted Manziel out of Texas A&M in the first round in 2014, hoping he could not only be their long-term solution at quarterback but revive a sluggish franchise.
Instead, he was a two-year headache that wouldn’t go away.
The Browns had been expected to waive Manziel on Wednesday, when free agency opened and the league began its new calendar year. The team, though, waited to see if it could find a team interested in making a trade; that way they wouldn’t have to pay Manziel the $2.1 million he’s still owed for the next two years.
But nobody wanted to give up anything for Manziel, who was in Vegas last weekend and has been spotted in nightclubs around Los Angeles the past few days.
Manziel played in 14 games for the Browns. He passed for 1,675 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Broncos get Sanchez • Denver acquired Mark Sanchez from Philadelphia, a move Broncos general manager John Elway calls the first step toward replacing the retired Peyton Manning.
The Super Bowl champions were left without an experienced quarterback this week when five-time MVP Manning retired and Brock Osweiler signed with Houston as a free agent. So they have turned to Sanchez, who was acquired for a conditional 2017 draft pick.
Sanchez, 29, spent his first five NFL seasons with the Jets, helping them to the AFC championship game in his first two years. But the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft lost his job in New York and spent the last two seasons with the Eagles, starting 10 games and going 4-6.
Weatherspoon back with Falcons • Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said he felt nostalgic when he returned to the Atlanta Falcons, his home for the first four years of his career, on Friday.
The Falcons agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Weatherspoon, the former Mizzou star who played in 14 games with Arizona in 2015. He was Atlanta’s first-round draft pick in 2010 and he returned to the team’s practice facility Friday.
Griffin visits with Jets • Free-agent quarterback Robert Griffin III was visiting with the New York Jets on Friday, two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.
Griffin was cut by the Washington Redskins on Monday, ending a tumultuous tenure in which the No. 2 overall draft pick immediately became an NFL star in 2012 before his career spiraled to the point where he spent all last season on the sideline because of injuries and inconsistency.
One of the sources told the AP that the Jets’ focus remained on re-signing Ryan Fitzpatrick, who set a franchise record with 31 touchdown passes last season, and the move to give Griffin a look is simply the team doing its due diligence.
Former NFL lineman Jeter dies • Gary Jeter, a defensive lineman who played for the Giants and Rams during a 13-year NFL career, has died. He was 61.
The NFL Players Association said it was informed he died Wednesday. No cause or other details were given.
Jeter was drafted out of Southern California in 1977 by the New York Giants with the fifth overall selection. He played six seasons for them, then another six for the Rams and one in New England.
Knee and back problems plagued him in the NFL. But in his final season 1989, with the Patriots, Jeter had seven sacks.
Jeter finished with 52 sacks for his career, with a high of 11½ in 1988. Sacks became an official statistic in 1983, the year he joined the Rams.
Other news • The Bills reportedly will lose Chris Hogan to the AFC East rival Patriots after the receiver signed New England’s three-year, $12 million offer sheet Friday. The Bills, who have salary cap problems, will not match the offer, sources said.
• The Seahawks continued to focus on retaining their own free agents by re-signing punter Jon Ryan to a four-year deal.
• The Colts got their backup quarterback by signing Scott Tolzien to play behind Andrew Luck.
• A person with knowledge of the deal says Dallas is bringing back cornerback Morris Claiborne on a one-year deal after the Cowboys declined the more expensive option on the former top 10 pick’s rookie contract.
• Former Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes and former Giants defensive end Robert Ayers Jr. agreed to contracts with the Buccaneers in free agency.
• The Jaguars signed former Dallas and Carolina guard Mackenzy Bernadeau, adding some offensive line depth after cutting starter Zane Beadles.
• The Cardinals re-signed defensive tackle Josh Mauro and tight end Ifeanyi Momah to one-year contracts.
• The Redskins signed defensive end Kendall Reyes, a former Charger.
• Former Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Jacksonville,
• The Oakland Raiders released linebacker Curtis Lofton after he spent one season with the team.
• The Browns signed free agent offensive lineman Alvin Bailey and linebacker Justin Tuggle.
• Veteran kicker Phil Dawson reached agreement on a one-year contract to stay with the 49ers.