CLEVELAND BROWNS coach Mike Pettine expects quarterback Johnny Manziel to take part in the team's practices next month after leaving rehab.
Pettine said the team has received "good" feedback about Manziel, who entered a treatment facility on Jan. 28 for an undisclosed problem. A first-round draft pick in 2014, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M backed up Brian Hoyer before playing poorly in two starts. Following the season, Manziel acknowledged he should have taken his job more seriously.
Pettine does not know when Manziel will be discharged from rehab, but he expects the young QB to return to football immediately. The Browns will work out on April 20.
"When he is back, it will be full speed ahead for him," Pettine said. "I think he's very anxious at this point."
Pettine emphasized Manziel's personal issues outweigh anything related to his profession.
While at the owners' meetings, the Browns have had discussions with HBO about being featured on "Hard Knocks," the cable network's popular reality series that gives viewers and inside look at an NFL team during training camp. Pettine knows all about "Hard Knocks" from when he was an assistant coach with the New York Jets.
Pettine said Manziel's situation is a factor in the Browns' hesitancy to be on the program.
* Former NFL safety Darren Sharper pleaded guilty in Las Vegas to a reduced felony attempted sex-assault charge, in the third part of a four-state plea deal that prosecutors say will put him in federal prison for about 9 years.
* Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings have reached a standstill in their professional relationship, agent Ben Dogra indicated yesterday.
"Up to today, they have not given us one compelling reason why it's in his best interest to remain as part of the Minnesota Vikings," Dogra said.
The Vikings have leverage with Peterson's contract, which covers the next 3 years, including a $12.75 million salary for 2015.
* The New York Jets signed free-agent defensive end Stephen Bowen and offensive tackle Corey Hilliard.
* Chicago agreed to a 1-year contract with former 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald, who played under new Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio in San Francisco. The 49ers cut McDonald in December after a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her following a night of drinking. The Bears also announced a 1-year deal with former Washington defensive end Jarvis Jenkins.
* A cousin of former New England tight end Aaron Hernandez took the stand in his murder trial in Fall River, Mass., after being ordered to testify. Jennifer Mercado gave him a big smile and told the prosecutor she couldn't remember details of what happened in the days surrounding the killing. Mercado was granted immunity before being called as a witness by the prosecution, which has charged Hernandez with murder for the June 17, 2013, killing of Odin Lloyd. Lloyd, 27, was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee.
Mercado said she couldn't remember details she recalled for the grand jury that investigated the Lloyd killing.