By this point, everyone should be coming down from their Super Bowl high—or hatred—to get back to the more pressing issues of the football world, like who your team will score in free agency, through trades and in the late April NFL Draft. Alas, we’d be irresponsible if we didn’t address something that was a little more serious than how fast prospects will run the 40 at this year’s combine. We’re talking Johnny Manziel, and it has little to do with football, because this guy may never play again—not in the NFL.
9. His Downward Spirals Happen So Fast
When Johnny Manziel was at Texas A&M it was obvious that he was still living a very sheltered, privileged life. His head coach, Kevin Sumlin, was very discerning regarding Johnny and the news media, especially when Johnny was a freshman. This probably should have been the first red flag, but fans were more impressed with Coach Sumlin’s restraint, and his protecting a young player. That’s when stories about Johnny’s character flaws started making headlines. Stories about why he was red-shirted when he first came to the university. In short, this guy had a tendency to party hard, and rely on his talent over his work ethic. Two years into his NFL career, we have seen repeated, destructive behaviors that have been detrimental to his team. And it happens fast! He’s starting. He’s good. He’s injured. He’s in Vegas. He’s on the lam…? Not a good resume builder.
8. Discounts All Accountability
Johnny Manziel proved on a large, collegiate stage that he loves playing football, and he loves sharing glorious moments with teammates. Seeing him come back from a three score deficit in an NCAA Bowl Game solidified his legendary status. He had the skill set to be another Brett Favre-type player, with more mobility. Brett was also a bit of a wild child, but he understood accountability. Johnny has no understanding of how to be responsible for his own actions, or how to measure accountability based on expectations. Johnny’s belief that he can do anything, anytime he wants and get away with it was obviously a groomed behavior. As a kid, it’s a little easier to get away with that stuff. A little easier for him to live that Friday Night Lights “Texas forever,” M.O. He has been an abysmal human being as an adult.
7. He Bailed on His Team to Party
Let’s dig into Johnny’s final week of the 2015 NFL season: Week 16. Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns played inspired football versus one of the hottest teams in the league, the Kansas City Chiefs. As the clock hit triple zeroes with Johnny and the Browns driving the field, he pulled off his helmet, and slammed it to the ground in frustration. While immature, it spoke volumes of how much he cared about that game. No chance to make the playoffs, no chance to salvage a terrible season, but a chance to win versus a quality opponent. He was in it. Then, it was announced that he would miss the season finale due to injury. Instead of being with his team, on the sidelines where he should have been, he went to Las Vegas in a disguise…to party. No team will ever tolerate such behavior.
6. He Lives in an Alternate Reality
We all remember the “Affluenza Teen” from 2015, yes? Johnny Manziel suffers from a case of acute affluenza. If you missed the affluenza trial, we’ll quickly catch you up to speed. A psych professional coined the term affluenza for an individual who experienced so much affluence in life, they couldn’t empathize or properly function within reality. To a certain extent, it seems Johnny is that guy—that guy who people spoke about for years in their thick Texas drawls, “Oh, he’s just a kid, he’s gon’ get it figured…” Well, he hasn’t. The latest episode with his now ex-girlfriend says it all. He has access to millions, and yet he’s dragging around an ex-girlfriend by her hair? (In fairness, that’s still hearsay.) He is in such denial, he even considered himself emotionally and mentally stable after the incident.
5. Obsession With Adolescent Behavior
This isn’t only a Johnny Manziel problem, but we’ll focus on his struggle in leaving childhood behind. When you’re living a code of ethics that is akin to a playground—as in a children’s playground—there’s a good chance you’re not growing. Arrested development is more than the name of a popular TV show. It seems to be the personal wrestling match with which Johnny is currently engaged. His substance abuse—we’re presuming it’s only alcohol—is fuel for the fire. Johnny has proven that he is capable of functioning as he should, but he is easily lured by childish antics and boorish behavior. It’s sad to see people—and we all know these people—continuing to live in adolescence. The terrifying aspect of this scenario is that Johnny obviously has some chemical dependency issues in addition to mental dependency issues.
4. Ryan Leaf Is Reaching Out to Him
For the love of sacred football history, it’s never a good thing when Ryan Leaf is reaching out to you, saying: I went through the same thing. I look at you, and I see myself 20 years ago. If that isn’t enough to shock you into sobriety—or a desire to be sober—then you may be a lost cause. This was reported the week before the Super Bowl, when Ryan Leaf extended a hand of grace to the fledgling, falling, and continuously failing Johnny Manziel. In fact, several celebrities and athletes were reaching out to Johnny, Charlie Sheen being one of them. After the Super Bowl, former/fellow Texas A&M Aggie, Von Miller, offered a word of hope for Johnny. Is it time to bust out the adage? You can lead a horse to water, but…? Johnny needs help, and he knows it, but he sees that surrender as weakness.
3. His Parents Have Spoken: It’s That Bad
Johnny Manziel’s parents are normally tight-lipped about his behavior, his on-the-field performance and his off-the-field issues, but no longer. After the most recent stretch of events—going back to Week 16, and Johnny’s Las Vegas incognito escapade—Johnny’s father, Paul Manziel, spoke out, offering a plea of desperation for his son. He claimed that the family attempted to get Johnny into a rehab facility, but the young QB left without offering explanation. Paul Manziel was so distraught, he believed Johnny to be suicidal. He made it clear: without help, he didn’t think Johnny would live to see his 24th birthday. This is obviously a parent at the end of their rope, and Johnny’s family has to feel helpless at this point if their advice and counsel are being ignored.
2. Restraining Orders
As mentioned, Johnny has been accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend. He has not been charged in any criminal wrongdoing, but the whole situation is bad news. We’re no group of relationship counselors at Goliath, but we can presumably state, with relative certainty, this relationship was never built upon sustainability. Now, Johnny has been slapped with a restraining order that will keep him from any contact with his ex for two years. This news was accompanied by the story involving a search helicopter out and about in Texas, looking for Johnny. Whether people thought he was a danger to himself, or a danger to others…or both, it apparently warranted the concern of an entire police department. After the news broke, Johnny eventually reached out to a TMZ source who claimed the QB was safe and stable. Call us skeptical, there’s too much that isn’t adding up in this story.
1. The Juice Isn’t Worth the Squeeze
At this point in Johnny’s career, he is not worth the pursuit of any organization. He has worn out his welcome in Cleveland, and it’s hard to imagine any other franchise taking a chance on him with such baggage. He is unproven in the league, and no amount of talent is going to score him a job when the league parity is at an all-time high. Are there owners out there who are lured by his story and would love to give him a tryout if he could get clean, and prove himself as a functional member of society? Absolutely. Jerry Jones comes to mind. It’s not a total indictment of Johnny’s character, but when a person needs help, and sees asking for it as weakness, as opposed to an opportunity at betterment, it’s hard to see the long-term in that person. We’re hoping this kid turns it around.