The Cleveland Browns will hold their rookie minicamp starting this Friday, May 16th, and it will run three days through Sunday, May 18th. It will be the first time that the local media gets to see all of the team's draft picks -- CB Justin Gilbert, QB Johnny Manziel, OG Joel Bitonio, ILB Christian Kirksey, RB Terrance West, and CB Pierre Desir. There will also be at least 27 other players there, from undrafted free agents to minicamp invitees.
With 33+ young players in general, the Browns made a public relations decision that has caused a bit of the stir in the national media: they have said that not all members of the national media will not be permitted access to the camp, which is well within the team's right to decide. The motivation behind the decision is the media hype that the team knows Manziel would draw:
Browns PR director told me: "We don't want this to be a Tebow situation. It's not going to be Johnny Football Mania out there."
— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) May 13, 2014
I get what the Browns are doing ... But doesn't drafting JFF come with the implication that you believe he can handle all the hoopla?— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 14, 2014
This is the type of situation where I understand the perspective of both parties. Normally, I think fans would be clamoring for attention from the national media, so why turn them away? We knew this is what we were getting in to when drafting Manziel.
On the other hand, I respect the team exercising their right to limit the attention at an event that typically is not well-attended by the national media. We don't need every member of the national media flying in, overwhelming 33 rookie+ players. There is still a chance that a select few members of the national media will be invited -- ones who the team knows can operate without causing disruption.
Browns have right to control who covers rookie camp. Can't say they're unprepared for Manziel circus then blast them for managing access.
— Joe Lull (@LullOnSports) May 13, 2014
The national media will still have plenty of time to visit the Browns at mandatory minicamp, training camp, and of course, the regular season. Not being at rookie minicamp isn't going to kill them, and they can still get their "scoops" from the local media.
Here is the team's remaining offseason calendar:
Rookie Minicamp: May 16-May 18
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 20-21, May 23, May 27-28, May 30, June 2-3, June 5-6
Mandatory Minicamp: June 10-12