Since Johnny Manziel won the Heisman in 2012, I think it's safe to say that no outlet in the Houston area has cobbled together more Johnny Football-related content than us here at the Houston Press, and more specifically, me, Sean Pendergast. Whether it was oversleeping for practice, another trip to Cabo, or Johnny's walking the very fine line of landing in the Fantasy Crime League, if there was anything to do with Manziel, we had it here. So prolific was Manziel at being in the news, I named him the King of Content for two years in a row!
Well, things have been quieter on the Manziel front over the last year or so. Johnny's gotten engaged, his social media output has been at a mere trickle, and as we found out on Good Morning, America on Monday, he found out around nine months ago that he had a bipolar disorder, a wiring flaw that can essentially explain the last four years or so of non-stop drinking and drugs as "self-medicating."
In the GMA interview, Manziel comes off as lucid, contrite, and likable, and he explains that his next goal is to get back onto the football field, eventually hoping to land back in the NFL, where he washed out previously after two seasons as a Cleveland Brown.
Here is the segment in its entirety:
The money quote that, if you're a Johnny Manziel fan (and I count myself as one), you hope is sincere is this one:
“You are left staring at the ceiling by yourself and in that depression and back in that dark hole of sitting in a room by yourself, super depressed, thinking about all the mistakes you made in your life,” he said. “What did that get me? Where did that get me except out of the NFL? Where did that get me? Disgraced.”
Manziel has charmed and ultimately snowed the public before. He's always been fantastic in front of the camera, even when his personal life was on shaky ground. I think back to the summer before his final season at Texas A&M, at 2013 SEC Media Days, just days after oversleeping as a counselor at the Manning QB Camp and getting sent home — Manziel stood in, took responsibility, answered every question, and by the end of the day, people were lauding the maturity with which he handled his mistakes.
That's one of numerous examples of Johnny "Eddie Haskell-ing" the media and fans, so the proof this time around will be in his deeds, not his words. Manziel's path back to football will almost assuredly go through Canada and the CFL, where his rights are held by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, coached by June Jones, who tried to recruit Manziel to SMU out of high school.
Jones reportedly wants Manziel as part of the team, but the two sides have had some difficulty agreeing on a contract. The signing of a clean and sober Manziel would be, at the very least, a short-term coup for the Canadian Football League, considering the buzz that would come with a Johnny Manziel comeback attempt. If he actually wound up being proficient in their game — which, for those who don't know, has significant cosmetic differences with the NFL, like three downs instead of four, and a longer and wider field — Manziel could be the next Doug Flutie.
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Clearly, it is Manziel's goal to get back to the NFL at some point, but that door is slammed shut right now. The fascinating thing to see would be how many years of success in Canada (and practically by definition, how many years of sobriety) it would take for the NFL to give Manziel another shot. Three? Four? Never?
For now, it's refreshing, and to those close to Manziel I would imagine a gigantic relief, to see Johnny Football looking human again, lest we forget the zombie-like state to which he'd spiraled a couple years ago....
Manziel looks like a damn skeleton now.. All that talent gone to waste. pic.twitter.com/8HtOI7Bt8Z— Cory Betz (@AllBetsOnBetz) June 18, 2016
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.