Johnny’s Journey Part 1: The Canadian Adventure

Here at Foolproof Football we’ve made no attempts to hide our opinions of Johnny Football. A player who entered the NFL with so much excitement, only to fall out of the league after a string of well-documented off the field issues. With this being the first of our series following his comeback we will be looking back at his troubled time. Part 2 will delve into the CFL and Johnny’s new team.

Manziel’s style of play in college gained him a huge gathering and eventually led to him winning the Heisman. He divided the leagues opinion entering the draft, more so than most other players, with some won over by the excitement of him making plays out of nothing, others cooled their interest due to his antics, which included an arrest. The Browns however were won over by him and drafted him in the first round. Manziel mania had begun.

Warning signs were first shown with Manziel being fined in the pre-season game against the Redskins, where he flipped off Washington’s sideline. Not exactly a great prelude to how he would handle the pressures of the league. Hoyer would then be named starter. 2014 wasn’t a great introduction for Manziel. Attempting only 35 passes for the year, Johnny threw 2 INTs and 0 TD. Football issues aside he would then also have to enter a program to adjust his lifestyle.

His football production went up in 2015, starting 6 games with 7 TDs and 5 INTs. He would end 2015 with a record of 2-4 from 6 starts.

While the stats aren’t great it’s worth noting that during the 32 games after Manziel had been released he Browns have continued to struggle, only winning 1 game. Despite the difficult situation the Browns were in Manziel was plagued with off field issues that didn’t help at all. Manziel had received many warnings over his partying lifestyle and missing the check-in for the final game of the 2015 season due to an impromptu trip to Las Vegas no doubt gave them food for thought. What no doubt made the decision final was the allegations of domestic abuse by Manziel’s ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley. Manziel was released by the Browns shortly after the announcement that the Dallas Police Department had opened the case.

2016 would prove to be Manziel’s crash. Only two years on from being drafted in the first round of the NFL, he now had thrown away what many kids can only dream of getting. Early after his release things seemed to just continue to worsen. Though slim to unlikely, any sign of a team taking a chance on him for the 2016 season disappeared when he received a 4 game ban for breaching the NFL substance abuse policy. Rock bottom. 2016 would end for Johnny with his domestic abuse case coming to a plea agreement, where he would be required to attend counseling and constant conduct monitoring by prosecutors for a year or face charges. The charges were then dismissed following the completion of this course.

After spiraling out of control most assumed that would be the end of Manziel’s attempt at playing football, but they thought wrong. 2017 proved to be Manziel’s comeback attempt. Reports came in that he was on a journey to clean himself up. This would also be the year he would meet his now wife Bre Tiesi, a person who Johnny credits to saving him. Throughout the year Manziel worked on his physical and mental side in preparation. An NFL comeback seemed unlikely so the eyes turned towards the CFL. In August of that year he met with Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, where he was put under mental and physical tests. They didn’t sign him but the meeting was promising, they decided to monitor his progress after being initially impressed. In December of the year the CFL approved Manziel’s application to be allowed play in the league. A huge moment in his comeback journey.

However, Manziel still wanted the NFL comeback. Citing that he would continue to pursue it and if it appeared impossible for 2018, he would turn to the CFL. In his attempts he was Texas A&Ms quarterback for their pro-day, playing in front of representatives from all NFL teams. Some media outlets ran stories of certain teams being intrigued with pursuing him, with praise coming for his improvements with his throwing style. Ultimately no NFL team made the move, more than likely still due to off field concerns. Notably, earlier this year Manziel was very open to shedding light on his past problems, discussing how he’s been diagnosed as bipolar and now takes medication to hep with it.

Manziel now accepting the NFL will have to wait signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this week on a two year deal. The CFL is the perfect platform for Manziel to show that he not only can still play, but also can keep his life in order despite the media attention and pressures of competing. This rare second chance could be his route back into the NFL he can take it.

Now I know a lot people have their objections about any possible return for Manziel, most due to the domestic abuse allegations which despite the charges being dismissed is completely understandable. However, personally I’m happy to see that Manziel appears to have his life in order now and believe that the driving factor for this is his desire to play football again. It’s clear he was a troubled young man, suffering from bipolar disorder, thrown into the media spotlight and resorted to abusing alcohol and drugs to cope. America prides itself on being a nation of comebacks and second chances (whether true or not is debatable) and Manziel needs to take advantage of his now.

We will be documenting his journey throughout his comeback story. Part 2 of this series will delve into the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and expectations for the year.
Soon Johnny Football will be back playing his namesake.