(Reuters) - Johnny Manziel has been installed as starting quarterback for the Browns in Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, enabling Cleveland to get a good look at his potential for leading the franchise.
“Johnny will be our starting quarterback on Sunday,” Browns coach Mike Pettine told reporters on Tuesday.
”He’s been solid in the building over the last couple of weeks and we are hopeful he takes this opportunity to continue to build on the progress he’s made on the field throughout the season.
“The goal for every game is to go out and win, and Johnny needs to show that he can put us in position to do so during these last four weeks of the season.”
The (2-10) Browns have lost their last seven games and after the Niners, they close the season against playoff contenders Seattle, Kansas City and Pittsburgh.
Manziel takes over after Austin Davis was under center in a 37-3 loss to the Bengals last Sunday.
Davis got the start because Manziel was benched after video footage materialized of last year’s first-round draft pick partying in nightclubs during Cleveland’s bye week.
Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner for Texas A&M who joined the NFL with a reputation as a party-boy, had promised coaches he would be on good behavior during the week off.
How Manziel performs over the next four weeks figures to have a big impact on Cleveland’s plans for next season.
Manziel has appeared in six games this season and started three, the most recent coming Nov. 15 at Pittsburgh. He has completed 76-of-128 passes for 933 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes