Monday Night Football
Browns players share opinion about Brian Hoyer decision
Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman and ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler each contacted Browns players after the decision was announced, and each reported the same thing: Most players thought sticking with Hoyer was the right decision, but not all of them did. One player told Fowler, referring to Manziel: "He came in, seven plays, scored a touchdown. I was all for it."
Manziel led a quick touchdown drive at Buffalo after coming in for the ineffective Hoyer in the fourth quarter.
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Tackle Joe Thomas, the team's offensive leader, echoed coach Mike Pettine's message that the decision to go with Hoyer gives the team the best chance to win. Thomas said had Pettine gone with Manziel, "the message is you're already playing for next year," according to NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala.
Why did Pettine go with Hoyer? He said it was "difficult" after the way Manziel played against the Bills. The Browns are 7-5, in the playoff race, and the Browns know what they're getting with Hoyer. He was the safe choice.
You almost look at it like a risk-reward situation, Pettine said, according to the Browns' Web site. Theres a lot of unknown [with Manziel]. And weve known weve been very effectively offensively, at times. We are hopeful we can get back to those times when we were efficient moving the ball and eating up the clock.
Were going to get Brian playing better. He knows theres some things he needs to work on. Hes shown the ability to bounce back from things that have happened negatively in the past. Just look internally at the Atlanta game he made the mistakes he made and was able to bounce back. Were confident hell be able to do that this week.
What going with Hoyer does is set up a charged atmosphere for Sunday's home game against the Indianapolis Colts. Will Browns fans be patient if Hoyer starts slow, following his poor November? Unless Hoyer does well early, the thought that Manziel is available off the bench will be on everyone's mind: fans, coaches and players. And Hoyer too.
Hoyer said he was shocked to get benched last week, which is surprising considering his struggles and the presence of a first-round pick on the bench. Maybe last week's move and a couple days of controversy wakes him up.
No matter what decision Pettine made, he will get second-guessed if it doesn't work. The Browns have just one playoff berth since re-entering the NFL in 1999. They have a chance to get back with a strong finish, and for now, Hoyer is the man for the job. It wasn't unanimous from the players or fans, but it'll be the right move if it works.
Brendon Ayanbadejo calls athletes to stand for marriage equality
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Former Baltimore Ravens reserve linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo called on professional athletes Tuesday to stand up for marriage equality because he said it is "the right thing to do."
Ayanbadejo took his support for gay marriage to South Florida, where his career started with Miami in 2003 and where he has lived for the past decade.
"We are calling on everybody across all spectrums of sports," he told a news conference in Fort Lauderdale, where he was joined by the civil rights organization Equality Florida.
"I think the star power, especially with athletes, allows us to hit a demographic. ... I think this allows us to have our voice reach a little bit deeper to people who wouldn't normally hear our message."
The 36-year-old Ayanbadejo said he had a "bigger calling than football" and this was it.
"I have a chance now to help so many more people than I did while in football."
An open proponent of gay marriage, Ayanbadejo spoke in favor of it in November, before Maryland passed a law allowing it, and also prior to the Super Bowl. He also recently spoke at a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court.
He was cut from the Ravens earlier this month and initially suggested the roster move stemmed from his controversial stance. He has since backed off that position and said the team has supported him since he began talking about equality in 2009.
"They said go ahead and use your platform," he said. "And not only did that make the Ravens look good and also we won the Super Bowl, but also it's a good example for other teams in the NFL as well."
Earlier this month, he told The Baltimore Sun that up to four NFL players may soon come out as gay. He told The Associated Press on Tuesday that a group of athletes were in touch with equality organizations and "we are just trying to facilitate them so they can have a support group amongst each other."
Ayanbadejo, who said he is not gay, said he is a product of biracial parents who would not have been able to marry in the '60s in several states.
"It's personal, but I equate it to equal rights, and a lot of people can't see it that way," he said of gay marriage.
The National Football League has not aligned itself with any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender organizations.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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