Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is focused on growing and improving his skills on the field.
BEREA, Ohio -- New Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel entered the team's Berea training facility on Friday morning for his welcome by the organization and introductory press conference, but during the whirlwind of traveling from New York City to Cleveland after the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, he was focused on one thing and one thing only: football.
That desire to play football at the highest level is what drives the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M as he prepares to compete with Brian Hoyer, Vince Young, Alex Tanney and Tyler Thigpen for the Browns' starting job.
"My main goal is to come in here and work extremely hard, try and get better as a football player," Manziel said. "There's a gap that needs to be bridged, a learning curve that I have to adapt to. I look at the quarterbacks here with Brian, Vince and the guys that are here. I feel like I can learn a lot from them. They're guys who have been in the league and can teach me a lot. Those guys are my teammates now, and I'm very eager to be interacting with them and learning from them.
"I can continue to get better in the pocket and feel more comfortable. There's times where I need to play within the confines of this offense going forward and take what's really given. There's times where I bailed out a little early. Just getting more comfortable in the pocket and continuing to work on my footwork and being more consistent all around is what I'm going for."
In addition to getting more comfortable in the pocket, Manziel plans to check his ego at the door and earn the trust of his new teammates.
"I'm a rookie coming in, so I'm low man on the totem pole," Manziel said. "I know my place. More than anything, I need to show these guys with actions other than words or with anything I can say, to earn their respect. It really is all about earning these guys' respect who have been in this league.
"They've gone through the process, and they've earned their respect to get to where they are today. It's going to take some time, but I'm going to do all that I can to make these guys comfortable every day and know that I want what's best for this team. I'm going to come in and work extremely hard.
"I didn't go into this process saying, 'I've got this all figured out.' I obviously knew there were times where I needed to play with more structure."
During the pre-draft process, Manziel measured in at 5-foot-11 ¾ and 210 pounds, but he is not worried about any of the durability questions that may come with being the first quarterback under six feet tall to be drafted in the first round in nearly 60 years.
"You can measure height, but you can't really measure heart," Manziel said. "I feel like I play way bigger than 5-11, and for me, it means even more because this is the team that selected me, and that's just a stat. I'm going to play extremely hard to make up that difference. I don't think you have to be a certain height to be successful.
"I haven't missed a game. I've hardly missed any practices. There's times where I have been a little banged up, but at the same time, I know when there's times I have to lay out and try to make a play for this team. There's times where I'll have to chalk it up and get down. I can only help the team if I'm healthy and able to play."
And play Manziel did at Texas A&M, especially in the biggest games, which is something he wants to do for a franchise who has started 19 quarterbacks since returning to the NFL in 1999.
"I feel like the bigger the stage, the more energized, the more passionate I am," Manziel said. "It's great to have those bright lights, the big stage, the big game, the big moments. It's what you live for being a quarterback.
"You also look at the fan base and how loyal they are, how passionate they are, and really, (it's) an incredible fan base with traits that I feel like I possess and play with on the field. Being able to bring some excitement that comes with where I've been and the things I've done in my life, to bring that here, that's why I feel like it's meant to be. I feel like it's a perfect storm.
"I've seen a picture of a jersey with names on the back. I have goals for myself, expectations. I feel that if I put in the time necessary, do what I'm supposed to do and really open myself up to these coaches and let them teach me and mold me into being a good football player, and continue to build on what I did the past couple of years as far as getting better, year-by-year, piece-by-piece, then I'll have some success. I believe that."