Berea, Ohio — Johnny Football became more than Johnny Manziel could handle.
"It just overtook who I was as a person," the Browns quarterback said Wednesday.
Speaking to the media for the first time since spending 10 weeks in a rehab facility, the polarizing Manziel said he's hoping to move past a regrettable chapter in his life. While he didn't divulge the reasons for his stay in a Pennsylvania substance-abuse facility, Manziel acknowledged he got caught up trying to live up to a persona he helped create.
"I think at times Johnny Football probably took over me a little bit and I bought into that," Manziel said following the team's second mandatory mini-camp practice. "I didn't do my best to hush things down, push down the hype. At times I welcomed it with immaturity and just accepted that a little bit — and that's my fault."
One of the changes the former Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M intends to make is scrapping his trademark money sign, when he rubs his fingers together after a big play.
"The money sign will not be back," he said. "I will not be making it out there."
Manziel, 22, opened his remarks by thanking reporters for respecting his privacy and he acknowledged Browns coach Mike Pettine, owner Jimmy Haslam and others with the Browns who "helped me out through a difficult time."
Manziel didn't duck any questions and he reiterated he was the one responsible for "a disaster" of a rookie season in the NFL.
"At the end of the day, everything that happened last year is not on anybody else but myself," said Manziel, who made two starts last season. "I guess I wasn't prepared to handle the type of spotlight that I got, and all the hype that came with it."
Manziel will enter training camp next month in the same place he was last summer — as a backup. He's now behind Josh McCown on the Browns depth chart, and there's no guarantee Manziel ever will overtake McCown as a starter.
But while his future on the field remains cloudy, Manziel said he's taking the necessary steps in his personal life to be a better, more dependable professional.
He recently moved from his downtown Cleveland apartment to a golf community on the city's west side. It's one of the changes he's made to resist any temptations and improve his image as a spoiled party kid.
"I think I've done a good job throughout this offseason of really trying to get back to my roots and who I really am as a person," Manziel said.
Panthers receiver Kelvin Benjamin missed minicamp practice with a strained right hamstring. A left hamstring injury kept last season's 1,000-yard receiver out of most of Carolina's OTAs in previous weeks.
... The family of Packers Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr says he is participating in a clinical trial using stem cells as a possible treatment for strokes.
Starr, 81, suffered two strokes and a mild heart attack last September. His family said in a statement released by the Packers that Starr is participating in the trial.
Starr returned to his home in Alabama last Friday after the first of two treatments.