Hoyer wins Browns' quarterback job over Johnny Manziel

Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:21pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Journeyman Brian Hoyer got the nod over charismatic rookie Johnny Manziel on Wednesday when the Cleveland Browns named their starting quarterback.

The two had been vying for the job for most of the off-season before Browns coach Mike Pettine and his staff opted for Hoyer, mainly because of his previous experience in the National Football League (NFL) and his leadership qualities.

"He was the clear leader from the beginning," Pettine, who consulted with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains before reaching a decision, said in a statement.

"We've maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with the more experienced player. Brian has done a great job in the meeting rooms and with his team mates on the practice field and in the locker room."

The Browns will launch their NFL regular season on Sept. 7 in Pittsburgh against the Steelers.

Though Hoyer completed only two of six passes for 16 yards in Monday's preseason 24-23 loss to the Washington Redskins, Pettine said that he had considered Hoyer's entire "body of work" before a final decision was taken.

"I think Brian's been very poised," Pettine said of Hoyer, who has battled back from a season-ending injury he suffered against the Buffalo Bills last October. "I think he's handled the situation well. He's had a lot of things going on."

Hoyer, who has started four games in his NFL career since being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Patriots in 2009, went 3-0 as a starter for Cleveland last season.

Manziel, nicknamed "Johnny Football" in college, found instant popularity since being drafted in the first round by the Browns, but his bid for the starting quarterback job was not helped by his offseason behavior.   Continued...

Aug 9, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports