From about the time he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the 22nd overall pick in the 2014 draft, after four months of social media solitude and hard work to prepare himself for the biggest job interviews of his life, Johnny Manziel has been back on the "Johnny Football" program.
I mean literally from the time he was drafted, as in like two hours after the first night of the draft was over, he had a champagne bottle hanging off his face. It's been all downhill since.
Late nights, lots of booze, selfless with the Biebs, and an utterly forgettable rookie season on the field. The arrow has been trending straight down on Manziel from the time training camp started, and the sad thing is, he doesn't even seem to be able to help himself.
On Monday morning, though, came an announcement that perhaps he's finally trying to gain some control. Courtesy of Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Breaking: #Browns QB Johnny Manziel has entered treatment Wednesday according to publicist Denise Michaels. Details coming soon
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) February 2, 2015
This news was followed by two statements, one from a family friend named Brad Beckworth and the second one from Browns general manager Ray Farmer:
Statesmen from the Cleveland Browns on Johnny Manziel entering treatment: pic.twitter.com/tbibfOvOvG
— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) February 2, 2015
The irony in Manziel asking for privacy underscores the difficulties that the 2012 Heisman winner has had in becoming responsible adult, let alone the face of an NFL franchise. Nobody thirsts the spotlight more than Johnny Football, putting all of his peccadilloes out there for the world to consume on Instagram and Twitter.
Manziel's issues with alcohol have been speculated on and off since about the time he became a football and social media phenomenon in late 2012. In fact, they were referred to directly by Manziel's father, Paul, in an ESPN.com article by Wright Thompson during the summer of 2013:
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
They're concerned. Paul thinks Johnny drinks to deal with the stress. After his arrest, Johnny's parents and Sumlin mandated he visit an alcohol counselor; Johnny saw him six or seven weeks during the season. About the only place they still see the real him is on the football field. Mostly what they see is the emotional byproduct of whatever is chewing him up inside. "I don't know where the anger comes from," Paul says. "I don't think he knows. If it comes from his drinking, or if he's mad at himself for not being a better person when he fails, when he fails God and his mom and me. If it makes him angry that he's got demons in him. You can only speculate because you can't go in there."
Then as the 2014 season wore on, stories came out of Cleveland about Manziel's missing injury treatment sessions, taking in late night parties (and getting involved in fights, allegedly) on Fridays before games, and team officials literally having to go to his apartment to wake him up.
For someone who, this time last year, was in the conversation for the number one overall pick in the draft, the fall has been precipitous, and perhaps now it all comes into focus and we see why on draft night, when Manziel was expected to be a top five pick, he slid all the way to number 22 overall.