With starting quarterback Josh McCown unable to playAndre Smith Jersey because of a painful rib injury, Johnny Manziel will start Thursday night against the Cincinnati Bengals, who treated him so rudely as a rookie on the road last year and now get him on their home turf.
In his first NFL start last season, Manziel was chased, sacked, intercepted and taunted by the Bengals in a 30-0 embarrassment.
Now, Manziel's facing one of the league's four remaining unbeaten teams on short notice.
''On the short week we realized that Josh just wasn't going to be able to get to the point where he could go,'' Pettine said. ''Johnny has worked hard to prepare himself. He is excited about his opportunity and we are all looking forward to the challenge we face in a good Bengals football team.''
McCown played through severe pain in the second half Sunday in a 34-20 loss to Arizona. The 36-year-old quarterback said Tuesday he was having difficulty breathing and http://www.officialbengalsnflstore.com/AUTHENTIC+ANDY+DALTON+JERSEYsleeping because his ribs were so sore. If he's not able to play at all, the Browns will have third-stringer Austin Davis active to back up Manziel against the Bengals.
This will be the second start this season for Manziel, who won against Tennessee in Week 2 when McCown was sidelined with a concussion sustained on the season's opening drive on Sept. 13 against the Jets. Manziel replaced McCown late in the second half the past two weeks.
The 2012 Heisman Trophy Jonathan Stewart Jerseywinner, who is also being investigated by the NFL for a recent domestic dispute, will be able to show a prime-time TV audience his improvement since his rocky rookie season. The Browns have been pleased with Manziel's dedication and progress following a rough first year, which was followed by a lengthy stay in a rehab facility for an unspecified problem.
Manziel won that lone start this season, completing 8 of 15 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-14 victory over the Titans. Manziel, though, fumbled twice on plays where he was under pressure.
''Obviously, that was not the first career start I would have hoped for or expected when the Bengals came to our stadium last year,'' Manziel said. ''I did learn from it and I feel much more confident in my abilities now because of the progress I feel like I've made over this season. My experience in that game from last year should help me.''
Pettine said Manziel has come a long way since that performance.