Why I’m rooting for a Johnny comeback
It seems ludicrous that I’m rooting for someone who was caught partying the night before he was supposed to meet with team medical staff when he was last on an NFL roster. He never showed up to the meeting and was cut from the roster following the end of the 2015 season.
Yet that conduct was only detrimental to him. Looking at what he did to others makes my argument seem even more appalling. In 2016, his ex-girlfriend’s attorney claimed he ruptured her eardrum. Though he was dismissed of the charges and ordered to attend counseling, it is safe to say that this man is not an exceptional person.
I’m talking about Johnny Manziel, of course–you know, the first player to ever win the Heisman Trophy as a freshman in 2012. The player who got his name “Johnny Football” trademarked after that season. With his many college awards, there is no doubt that he will be considered one of the best college football players of the decade.
Though he always had personal issues off the field, his stardom in college carried him past that. However, after being drafted in the NFL by the Cleveland Browns, these problems became more and more troublesome. Though being drafted by the Browns as a quarterback can be seen as a curse, many of the issues Manziel had were brought on by himself.
Manziel’s time with the Browns was uninspiring at best if you look at his stats. Even more concerning than his stats are what his colleagues said of him. In an ESPN article after his rookie season, nearly 20 Browns sources stated he showed a lack of commitment and preparation, with one player calling Manziel’s season a “100 percent joke.”
Though he did get more playing time the following season, his antics off the field grew worse, affecting his relationship with the Browns. After he partied before the final game of the season, the Browns cut him. His agent fired him as well.
So what has changed about Manziel that makes me support him?
For one, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder about a year ago. He has stopped drinking since then and recognizes he is the only one responsible with for his run-ins with the law. He is treating his disorder through medication and hasn’t had any legal issues since the diagnosis.
Second, there is evidence he is taking the game more seriously now. He participated in the Spring League, a non-paying developmental league for those interested in playing in the NFL or CFL (Canadian Football League). In his final Spring League game, he threw one interception but also ran in for two touchdowns. These are not superb stats, but it does show some flashes of him being a dual-threat quarterback.
Besides participating in the Spring League, Manziel also threw at two different pro days. At his final pro day at Texas A&M, Manziel threw in front of all 32 NFL teams as well as two CFL teams.
Manziel has two options from here. He can wait for an offer from an NFL team. Or he can sign with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, where he has a two-year contract waiting for him. If he signs with Hamilton, he would not be able to return to the NFL, where he’d prefer to be, until the end of the 2019 CFL season. CFL training camp for rookies starts on May 16, so he must make his decision if he wants to play in the CFL or not by then.
Manziel is starting to get back in the groove of things. Regardless of whether NFL scouts think he’s ready to play in the league, it would be great to see his talent back on the field somewhere, even if it’s Canada. At the age of 25, Manziel finally can control and understand himself. It’s time to see this quarterback on the field, not only because he has talent, but because he is mature for the first time since entering the public spotlight.