During the Monday night preseason game against the Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel gave the Redskins sideline the middle finger. On Wednesday, the Browns coaching staff gave Manziel the middle finger as they have named Brian Hoyer the starter for the 2014 regular season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“He was the clear leader from the beginning,” coach Mike Pettine said of Hoyer 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 teammates on the practice field and in the locker room.”
Neither Hoyer, nor Manziel had a good showing Monday night against the Redskins, however. Hoyer completed 2-of-6 passes for 16 yard, while Manziel, one of two first-round draft picks of the Browns back in May, completed 7 of 16 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown in the 24-23 loss.
Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said a few weeks ago that he expected Manziel would be the starter when the Browns visit Heinz Field for the season opener, but now barring any injuries, that won’t be the case.
Hoyer, however, will likely be without his top wide receiver for at least the first eight games of the season as Josh Gordon is expected to be suspended any day now for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
The Steelers play the Browns again in Week 6, so by that time there’s a good chance that Hoyer will have been given the middle finger by the Cleveland coaching staff by then.