Johnny Manziel used to be known for creating dazzling plays on the football field and exciting fans in stadiums everywhere. He was nicknamed, “Johnny Football.” He had a storied college football career at Texas A&M, won the Heisman trophy (awarded to the best college football player), and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.
Two weeks ago, he was released by the Cleveland Browns and is now facing serious assault charges against his former girlfriend, Colleen Crowley.
Football fans and pundits are still asking the question, “Should our team consider signing Johnny Football?
They should first be asking, will Johnny Manziel ever get the help he needs? Manziel has had a longstanding substance abuse problem, which has long been overlooked due to his amazing skillset on the gridiron. But only those closest to him seem to recognize, that if Johnny doesn’t really seek the treatment he desperately needs, there will be no more Johnny Football. There will be no more football, period.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Manziel’s father, Paul, tried getting his son to enter a rehab facility in January, shortly after Johnny’s 23rd birthday. When his son refused, Paul Manziel told the paper: “I truly believe if they can’t get him help, he won’t live to see his 24th birthday.”
This would not have been Manziel’s first stint in a rehab facility.
Last Spring, the Browns quarterback had entered Caron Treatment Center for undisclosed issues, and when he was discharged in April—just in time for the first offseason workout of 2015—those around him saw a different Manziel. He was more focused, especially when it came to football. The Browns training staff noted that he looked less bloated. His skin was even glowing.
But only two weeks into the season, after his starting job as quarterback was again taken away, Manziel relinquished to his substance abuse problem.
By midseason, the quarterback had fallen back into old habits. It’s a familiar pattern: Manziel straddles the line between becoming the professional football player many believe he can be, and the kid from Kerrville who can’t help but sabotage himself.
|Manziel and Ex-Girlfriend Crowley|
Manziel’s career has plunged to new depths after another year of off-field recklessness. Just 22 months after drafting him as their presumed franchise quarterback, the Browns have officially moved on, cutting Manziel two Friday’s ago. (His final stat line in Cleveland: 14 games, 57.0 percent completion rate, seven touchdowns, seven interceptions, seven fumbles.) An accusation of an ugly assault hangs over him; according to an affidavit, ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley said that on Jan. 30 Manziel struck her so hard her eardrum ruptured. A Dallas grand jury is contemplating an assault charge.
He has been dropped by his agent, Erik Burkhardt, and his marketing team. As recently as early January, league sources say at least two teams—one being the Cowboys—had legitimate interest in Manziel. That was before the alleged assault on Crowley. Now, those same sources say that unless Manziel seeks treatment, he’s “untouchable.” His actions since Crowley’s accusations surfaced—chugging bottles at nightclubs from Miami to West Hollywood, dancing at a strip club—demonstrate such apparent disregard, it raises the question: If he never plays football again, does he even care?
When is enough… enough for Johnny Football? He’s already left millions of dollars and the prestige of being an NFL-starting QB in the wake of his excessive partying. When is it time that Johnny Football will recognize that the ongoing party is getting darker by the day, and soon the lights will go out. It’s now or never for him to realize that he is not only risking a career, but also risking his life.