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Browns’ McCown glad there’s no QB battle with Manziel


The Sports Xchange

Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown, firmly the No. 1 quarterback in the team’s offseason workouts, hopes it stays that way instead of a battle with Johnny Manziel that would receive lots of media scrutiny.

Head coach Mike Pettine made it clear weeks ago that McCown would be team’s No. 1 passer throughout offseason workouts, minicamp and into training camp and there would be no quarterback controversy.

Pettine said McCown is the favorite to be the Browns starting quarterback over Manziel, a second-year player who continues on the road back from his 10-week stay in rehab.

“More than anything, for me, I just believe it takes away from any kind of distraction that you can have and the team can just move in one direction, regardless of who that guy is,” McCown told the Cleveland Plain Dealer last week on the first day of organized team activities. “It’s helpful to just say, ‘this is our guy until something happens and he’s not our guy.’

“But I agree with that philosophy and that approach. It doesn’t take anything away from our group and it doesn’t take away from what Johnny and Thad (Lewis) and Connor (Shaw) are doing. We’re all working together.”

McCown, 35, was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Feb. 11. The 13-year NFL veteran signed a three-year contract with the Browns worth $14 million, with $5.25 million due in 2015. Overall, the deal guarantees $6.25 million and could be worth up to $20 million.

“To be honest, I did not know very much about him, but researched him heading into free agency,” Pettine said. “Then, I talked to a lot of people that had worked with him or knew him, then just the experience when he was in here — you could tell this guy loves football.

“He’s all about team. All he wants to do is win, ultra-competitive. He’s been rock solid in the meetings, very on point with his preparation. We didn’t bring him here to be a mentor, but that’s just who he is. He doesn’t know any different. He’s been as advertised.”

McCown doesn’t feel threatened, knows his role and is willing to help the other young quarterbacks on the team.

“When you’re part of a team, you serve and help the guys around you and that starts inside your position group,” McCown said. “At this stage of my career they’re all the younger quarterbacks on the roster, so you just give them what you can to help them. I’ve said it from day one: I want to see the Cleveland Browns and quarterback position be better than it’s been. I want to do my part to help that happen on the field, but then if something happens and I’m not playing, then whoever is playing that those guys play productive too, so we’re in it together.”

A third-round draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2002, McCown has played for six teams in 13 seasons. He started 11 games for Tampa Bay in 2014, completing 56.3 percent of his passes for 2,206 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

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