The kid that won over legions of fans during his time at Texas A&M is in a huge battle. Johnny Manziel is scheduled to leave rehab this week. He will then have to fight his way back to being the quarterback that those adoring fans thought he could be as a pro. Manziel will also have to fight for not only for the starting role, but for a roster spot in Cleveland. He has put himself in this position and obviously can’t blame anyone else. The challenges before him will not be easy and the biggest fight will be the one between Johnny Manziel and Johnny Football. The winner of that battle will determine the future of the guy that wowed the country during his time with the Aggies.
Anyone who thinks Cleveland was caught off guard when Manziel had to enter rehab is just plain wrong. Apparently the entire league knew about his problems, even beyond his public partying photos. Nonetheless the Browns took a chance on him at #22 in the draft. After what he accomplished in college I would have said it was a good risk even with his baggage. The NFL isn’t made up of boy scouts. Talent trumps knuckleheadedness many times. It’s not like he was a serial killer. He just liked to have a good time.
After Manziel entered rehab, the stories started rolling in about his lack of professionalism. Source after source told of his penchant for being late….a lot, like all the time. Chris Mortensen stated that he believes the Browns are basically done with him. The NFL insider noted that Cleveland tried to get Sam Bradford around the time that Philadelphia eventually traded for the Rams’ former first round pick. Giving up on a first rounder like Manziel after only one season is a rarity. It usually takes a couple of years for a team to admit they wasted a draft pick on a guy. It’s a bad look for the player as well as the management team that drafted a bust.
What does Johnny Football have to do to redeem himself as a professional football player? He needs to smother Johnny Manziel. This murder will need to happen on a daily basis. Johnny Manziel, party animal and alleged alcoholic, will not go away easily. This will be a tough fight since the night life loving Manziel will be trying to kill J-Football just as he has been trying to do for a while now. Johnny Football will have to feed the good dog inside him while starving the bad one. That is a great saying, but to do so each day is quite a challenge. Drinking, hanging with celebrities, and having your choice of bikini models is quite fun.
I hope rehab has helped this young man, whether he ever pans out in the NFL or not. It’s a terrible thing to watch someone destroy himself. Once he leaves that rehab facility he will need to take steps to stay on the right path. I can think of a few ways to increase his chances of staying clean, not the least of which would be finding positive mentors to help him along the way. I don’t think Justin Bieber and similar celebrities will be helpful in this quest to straighten his life up. If we are to see Johnny Football return to prominence on the football field he needs to enlist the advisement of guys like Bernard Hopkins. B-Hop is not a perfect man I’m sure, but he certainly takes steps to ensure he is not derailed by any outside forces. The hall of fame boxer was locked up as a very young man, yet promised himself he would never get himself in that kind of trouble again. Hopkins does not drink, smoke, or put himself in any tempting situations. He is a pro in every sense of the word. The boxer was his own worst enemy and wound up in prison as a result. To stay out of jail he had to defend himself against himself each and every day.
Johnny Manziel has to do the same thing if he has any shot of being a star NFL QB. He still has a shot in Cleveland. It’s not like they have many options on the current roster that are better than Manziel. His time to turn things around as a pro athlete is short though. Teams will hang onto hope only so long before cutting their losses. I for one would like to see the real Johnny Football come alive. I have no interest in Johnny Boozer, Johnny Celebrity Clinger, or Johnny Drama. The kid will find out that the world has no use for those other personas either if he is no longer a football star. I’d hate to see the guy end up on some stupid reality show in a few years as the producers suck the last bit of fame from him. I’d much prefer to see him use his natural talent to become the pro athlete he was meant to be.