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Browns won't volunteer for 'Hard Knocks' to protect Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns warms

Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns warms up prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on Dec. 14, 2014 in Cleveland. Credit: Getty Images / Joe Robbins

PHOENIX - The Browns figure that Johnny Manziel has had enough hard knocks in the last year of his life, they don't want to add another.

That's why the team spoke with NFL Films at the league's Annual Meeting this week and said they are not volunteering to be featured on the HBO program "Hard Knocks" which chronicles one team through training camp.

Manziel is currently in a rehab facility and has been since Jan. 28. He is expected to rejoin the team for the start of offseason workouts on April 20, but Browns head coach Mike Pettine said no definite date has been set.

Clearly, though, the Browns expect Manziel back. And they expect to protect him from the glare of "Hard Knocks."

"When we decided not to volunteer for 'Hard Knocks,' we discussed everything that was involved with it," Pettine said. "[Manziel] is certainly something we needed to consider."

Pettine has been through the "Hard Knocks" grinder. He was an assistant on the Jets when they were featured on the show in 2010.

"Being a part of 'Hard Knocks,' having been there, knowing they're going to look to cover the team's biggest current storylines, it's obvious that he would be a point of attention," he said.

The NFL does have the power to force a team to participate on the program if there are no volunteers. The Browns are one of the teams that could become unwilling reality stars. Perhaps the lure of Manziel will draw producers in, even though the Browns are trying to keep them away.

Pettine smiled but declined to say how he would handle being forced to be on the show.

"That's a hypothetical," he said.

New York Sports