Sean Pendergast

NFL Hands Manziel Four-Game Suspension for Substance Abuse

They say that part of the bargaining an addict goes through is that he or she sets deadlines and milestone dates out on the future for when the addict will get started on fixing himself, as if sobriety is a school assignment like a diorama a student is making for art class. That mentality is pervasive in the addiction community, and it's really just a disguised form of procrastination.

So it would stand to reason that Johnny Manziel, whose behavior has followed the addict's user manual to a T from about the time he was drafted into the NFL in 2014, set this Friday, July 1, as the date that he will begin working on getting sober, according to TMZ:

For his part, Manziel tells TMZ Sports he's NOT doing any drugs in Mexico and says he's going completely sober starting July 1st ... no booze, eating right and training like crazy.

Manziel has said he's determined to make a comeback to the NFL — and tells us he's finally ready to get back to work ... right after one last turn up. 
As mentioned, Manziel is currently in Cabo staying in a $3,900-a-night villa that apparently is well...LIT...

It would seem that Cabo is a difficult place to get started on sobriety, with all the margaritas and readily available recreational drugs. Sobriety might be something better attempted, oh, I rehab, maybe? But here is Johnny once again, as in Tuscaloosa in 2012, trying to pull off the impossible! 

Now, as TMZ mentioned above, Manziel has designs on returning to the NFL someday (sorry, I have to pause and laugh every time I write that), but if that does indeed happen, it appears he will be subject to a four-game suspension for substance abuse when he returns.

This, according to another post on TMZ:

Might seem moot ... but Johnny Manziel will be suspended the first 4 games of the 2016 season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy ... league sources tell TMZ Sports. We're told the violation was NOT due to a performance enhancing drug.

Manziel has said he plans to make an NFL comeback — but we're told if by some miracle he did get signed to a team, he will be forced to sit out the first 4 games of the season. 
So what does this mean? Well, two things to note:

1. This suspension has nothing to do with the league's conduct policy investigation of Manziel for domestic assault. That investigation is ongoing, and presumably could result in additional suspended games being tacked on as a "welcome back" gift for Johnny if he miraculously makes it back to the NFL.

2. According to the NFL substance abuse policy, a four-game suspension is a punishment for someone in stage two of the program, which means Manziel has failed another drug test at some point along the way. (In stage one, the team and the player handle things confidentially behind the scenes with therapy or treatment and involvement of the team's medical staff.)

3. We've all been wondering when Manziel's money is going to run out, since he has no discernible streams of income right now from playing football or endorsing products. Well, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Manziel's suspension could trigger a clause that denies him the remaining guaranteed money on his rookie deal with the Browns, around $2.3 million, which is problematic when your lifestyle heavily involves private jets and five-star hotels.

So if you're keeping track at home, here is the list of people with a "Johnny Manziel issue" of some legal variety:

* Owner of Hollywood Hills home with $40,000 in damage
* Owner of a rented SUV in Hollywood with $90,000 in damage
* Recipient of a Manziel punch at a Toronto nightclub
* The NFL suspending him for four games, if and when he returns
* The State of Texas vs. Johnny for allegedly punching his ex-girlfriend
* Cleveland Browns possibly wanting $2.3 million in guaranteed money back

Sobriety begins today for Johnny. Good luck. 

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at and like him on Facebook at    
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast