Johnny Manziel’s Past, Present, and Future
It was impossible to turn on ESPN in 2012 without hearing about Texas A&M’s Heisman winning Quarterback, Johnny Manziel. Manziel was the most exciting athlete in the country showing off his skills both through the air and on the ground. In 2012, Manziel became the first freshman to ever win the Heisman trophy after 47 total touchdowns. Manziel returned in 2013 and repeated his massive success. But this success on the field did not translate off the field.Our story starts on June 29, 2012 when Manziel was arrested for carrying fake identification and fighting. Then Manziel innocently posted a photo of himself with stacks of cash at the casino on Instagram, it was later deleted. On August 4, 2013 Manziel was in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The NCAA began investigating if Manziel was (against NCAA rules) signing memorabilia for cash. This only ended in Manziel being suspended for the first half of A&M’s season opener, but left a huge dent on his reputation. After the 2013 season, Manziel declared for the NFL Draft. Now, his “maturity” would play a big part in his future career. Any team willing to take Manziel ran the risk of no change in his maturity occurring.
Manziel fell a bit deeper than most expected and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the 22nd pick in the draft. ESPN and just about every other sports media was talking about Johnny Manziel has “changed”, turns out they were all very wrong. Since then, Manziel has taken a turn for the worst, as if it was even possible to get worse. He was photographed partying at a Drake appreciation party in Houston during a weekend in June. It’s no secret that the two are close friends, Drake even produced a song named “Draft Day” featuring Manziel’s name in the chorus. A week later, a video surfaced of Manziel yelling “I can’t hear you, there’s too much money in my f****ing hand!”. Then in July, Manziel was photographed with a rolled up $20 bill, which was assumed he used to snort some kind of drug. To Manziel’s credit no drugs were found and he has never failed a drug test, but either way it was still not a good look for the then rookie QB.
Manziel was presumed the new starter for the Browns’ starting QB before the years start. Then, the fines started coming in. Manziel was fined by the Browns before his rookie season even begun after showing up late to a team meeting in August. Then only a week later he was fined again, this time for flipping off the Redskin’s bench. After those two incidents, Manziel was pulled from his starting job and Brian Hoyer filled the spot. Manziel attempted to redeem himself later that year, telling ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler “It’s been a year of growing up for me. It’s a job for me now. I have to take it a lot more seriously than maybe I did at first.”
But with hope, came disappointment. Manziel went out partying not too long after with teammate Josh Gordon (who was suspended for the first 10 games of the season after breaking the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.) Then in the first week of the 2014 off-season, Manziel was out clubbing and flipping off people as he usually does. Finally in February of 2015, Manziel entered rehab.
Love him or hate him, as a football fan you want Manziel to get past this and play quality football again. After an extended stay at Caron Rehab Center for 10 weeks, Manziel checked out on April 11th, 2015. That June, Manziel met with the media and said goodbye to his signature money celebration that we all know and love. To many, this was a true sign of good things to come. Manziel began to take matters into his own hands, owning up to the mistakes he once made.
This seasons’ starter for the Browns was named Josh McCown but Manziel sat looking on, waiting for an opportunity. That opportunity came when McCown went down against the Cardinals with a rib injury. Manziel took advantage at the expensive of McCown and was named the starter for the remainder of the season by Browns’ head coach Mike Pettine. Unfortunately though, Manziel could not keep it together and photos surfaced of him once again out partying during the Browns’ bye week. Dissapointed in Manziel, Pettine demoted him to the third string QB.
All hope is not lost for Johnny “Football” though. McCown returned week 12 against the Baltimore Ravens and suffered a broken collarbone, ending his season. Now, Manziel sits only behind Austin Davis, who had only started 8 games with the St. Louis Rams. The Football Gods clearly have a plan for Manziel, his story is no where near over. Although he’s struggled with his off-feild issues, he is still a player capable of changing a game. Whether or not he’ll continue in Cleveland is another story but Manziel has the tools needed. No matter where Manziel ends up, the camera’s will be focused on him. Finding the right guidance and treatment could make all the difference.
Manziel has time and again proved how much of an impact he can make on an team. Since he left Texas A&M in 2013, the Aggies are a combined 16-9 compared to the Manziel lead 20-6 record in 2012 and 2013 combined. Manziel has not yet been given the right opportunity to shine with Browns. The Browns are the Edmonton Oilers or Philadelphia 76ers of the NFL, you’re almost destined to fail. Manziel stepped into the starting role this season with his number 1 target being Travis Benjamin, who only had 41 receptions coming into this season. Manziel would benefit greatly from another breakout offensive player, unfortunately Cleveland doesn’t have this to offer. Josh Gordon, who I mentioned earlier, is once again being forced to sit out the 2015 season after breaking the league’s substance-abuse policy a second time. Gordon/Manziel could quite possibly be the worst combination for the Browns off the field but on it, they’re anything but. The probability of us ever seeing Manziel throw to Gordon is very unlikely though.
It’s no surprise that the Browns will be trying to shop Manziel, since it seems they’ve had enough of his antics. Among the names of teams who have shown interest and Manziel are the Dallas Cowboys, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles according to Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Perloff. The Cowboys were the team expected to draft Manziel until they passed on him at pick number 16 and selected offensive guard, Zack Martin. The Cowboys have been riddled with injuries this season, including one that ended the season of starting QB Tony Romo. Now, they’ll play Matt Cassel who has started only four games for the Cowboys this season and has lost all four games. Manziel could begin fresh in Dallas until Romo makes his return next season, hopefully winning some games alongside WR Dez Bryant. Moving to Dallas worked for the Stars’ Tyler Seguin, why wouldn’t it for Johnny Manziel?