NFL notebook

Johnny Manziel, Michael Sam are NFL’s most fashionable picks

The 249th pick in the NFL Draft has the second-most popular jersey of all the players selected last weekend.

Michael Sam’s Rams jersey was the No. 2 seller among rookies on Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted when St. Louis took him late in the seventh and final round Saturday night.

The top seller was that of new Browns quarterback quarterback Johnny Manziel. In fact, more Manziel jerseys have been purchased since April 1 than those of any NFL veteran.


League spokesman Brian McCarthy says sold nearly as many for Manziel from Thursday to Sunday as it did for the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III, Colts’ Andrew Luck, and the Broncos’ Tim Tebow combined during their respective draft weekends.

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Top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney of the Texans had the third-most popular rookie jersey, followed by the other two QBs taken in the first round: the Vikings’ Teddy Bridgewater and the Jaguars’ Blake Bortles.

‘He’s not the starter’

As the crowd of football fans bowed their heads before Browns owner Jimmy Haslam spoke, a priest delivering the invocation asked for a special blessing for Manziel.

‘‘Father, I don’t think I've ever heard a prayer like that,’’ Haslam told the clergyman. ‘‘I'm not sure what Brian Hoyer thought of that either.’’

Speaking for the first time since the Browns landed Manziel, Haslam made it clear that the rookie will have to earn everything he gets.


‘‘He’s not the starter,’’ Haslam said of Manziel.

Haslam spoke for 35 minutes Monday in Canton, Ohio, to a packed room of 500 . Haslam said the Browns have told Manziel not to expect preferential treatment.

‘‘We were very frank with him that ‘You’re the backup quarterback. This is a hard-working, blue-collar town. This isn’t Hollywood,’ ” Haslam said.

Haslam called Manziel ‘‘ultra-competitive.’’

‘‘I think you'll find a guy that’s really hard-working, a serious guy that doesn’t want to be a three-year-in-the-league flash-and-out who makes a lot of money on endorsements,’’ Haslam said.


Following the speech, Haslam also denounced a report that the Browns originally submitted Louisville quarterback Bridgewater’s name on the draft card before changing it to Manziel's.

‘‘That’s crazy. That’s nuts,’’ Haslam told the AP.

Manziel will have one fewer quarterback to compete against as Haslam announced the team released 30-year-old Vince Young, who had been signed on May 1 with Tyler Thigpen.

Rams dump Johnson

The Bengals released backup quarterback Josh Johnson, two days after they took Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron in the fifth round . . . The Saints signed 17 undrafted free agents, including BC linebacker Kasim Edebali . . . The Cardinals released running back Ryan Williams, a second-round pick in 2011 . . . The Jaguars released six players, including starting guard Will Rackley and receiver Jeremy Ebert . . . Vikings college scouting director Scott Studwell resigned from the position he held for 12 years . . . Rams receiver Stedman Bailey , a third-round pick last year, was suspended without pay for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.