Is Johnny Manziel Throwing His Career Away?

Early August means that NFL training camps are moving into high gear, with each team ready to four (or in some cases five) preseason clashes. One notable absence from any camp is former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel, who went through two turbulent seasons with the Cleveland Browns before the team released him in March.

Even before he joined the professional ranks, Manziel’s disturbing behavior and character flaws were clearly evident to NFL scouts. Even without those flaws, his size (5–11) was seen as a detriment, which is one reason why he lasted until the 22nd pick of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Irresponsibility on Display

Thus far, Manziel’s empty promises of taking his NFL career seriously serve as a key reason why his career is in shambles. After the Browns released him, his “dedication” was only evident when it came to sightings at nightclubs and bars. A Los Angeles home he was renting in early April ended up with $32,000 worth of damage done to it after one of Manziel’s parties. That has since led to a lawsuit against him for more than $100,000.

While wagers are made on individual games and performances, no betting sites predict if a player will be able to come back from disaster. In Manziel’s case, he suffered a hamstring injury in 2014 along with a concussion last season.

Déjà vu All Over Again

For most quarterbacks, those would be annoying setbacks in the midst of trying to develop into a starting quarterback. Yet Manziel found a way to turn those into more soul-searching moments.

The hamstring issued surfaced in the team’s next-to-last game. The day before the final contest, Manziel was scheduled to get treatment but never bothered to show up. A team official had to go to his downtown Cleveland apartment to pick him up. The night before, he had held a party with some team members and then proceeded to oversleep.

Under almost duplicate circumstances last season, he was being treated for a concussion heading into the season’s final game. Instead of showing up for that treatment, he was spotted gambling in Las Vegas under bizarre circumstances. He was reportedly wearing a disguise and told people that his name was Billy. Manziel had already been on thin ice with Cleveland management and that incident proved to be the final straw that prompted his release.

Trouble Away From Football

In between those situations, Manziel underwent alcohol treatment for 10 weeks and appeared to have finally come to grips with doing what was expected of him. Yet that proved to be a mirage when he ended up being questioned last October for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Colleen Crowley.

Manziel was cleared in that case but after another argument less than four months later in Texas, Crowley ended up with a ruptured eardrum. That resulted in Manziel being indicted for assault.

Two months later, the NFL suspended Manziel for four games even though he’s currently not signed with anyone. Even if he isn’t convicted in the assault case, he’s likely to have at least another four weeks tacked onto that suspension.

The Bottom Line

Manziel’s own father was concerned enough about this human implosion to say that unless his son changes his way of life soon, he could be dead within a year. The younger Manziel made a pledge to stop drinking on July 1, through his credibility is at a low ebb.

Amid that backdrop, it seems to be a longshot that Manziel ever plays in the NFL again. Some team may sign him as a backup or for the freak show quality he now brings. In truth, not too many teams are going to breaking down the doors to sign someone who’s thrown as many interceptions as touchdown passes (seven) and brings heavy baggage along.

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