Johnny Manziel: ‘I Felt Like I Never Really Gave Cleveland A Chance’

Oh, joy. I thought my days of writing about Johnny Manziel were over, but the former Cleveland Browns’ first-round quarterback bust of 2014—it’s important to specify the year when talking about Browns first-round busts, even while naming the position—is managing to put his name back into the media cycle.

His good friend, Josh Gordon, managed to do that at well, but he actually parlayed that into a successful return to the NFL. Gordon claims to have truly gotten sober, and in five games at the end of the 2017 season he caught 18 passes for 335 yards and a touchdown. He had four catches for 115 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the regular season finale.

But anyway, I suppose we should get to the Manziel Hour. ‘Johnny Football’, whom even the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats don’t appear to want to touch, recently participated in an interview in which he said that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and is now receiving treatment for it. He also said that, like Gordon, he is now sober.

Yet that did not prevent him from releasing a new line of merchandise advertising his ‘comeback’, which includes his signature ‘money’ sign that he made famous while still in college. Of course he wants money. So does everybody else. But teams who are willing to give him money would probably rather not see him launch a clothing line with money signs before he has any, you know, money.

Manziel said that he and Gordon still speak regularly, on a weekly basis. “Our friendship grew from the first day that I came into the locker room in Cleveland”, he said. “I walk in my first day ever and there’s a pair of Jordan cleats sitting on my chair and they’re a size 15. I was wondering who in the hell in the locker room would give me these?”. Of course, they were from Gordon, who was a second-round pick two years earlier.

The quarterback said of his former wide receiver that he has “a good heart”, and that he is proud of him for his sobriety and his successful return to the league, which he is naturally hoping to duplicate. He acknowledged that his road back is tougher, however.

“it’s a little easier when you’re six-foot-four and you’ve made a Pro Bowl, and you’re a physical specimen like that”, he said describing Gordon and helping to explain why the Browns were willing to wait on him for so long.

Manziel, meanwhile, is an undersized quarterback who did not particularly have much success in the playing time that he did have during his two seasons in the NFL. His behavior combined with his lackluster performance helped drive the Browns to release him.

“I felt like I never really gave Cleveland a chance”, he said of the team that drafted him, and the city that brought him in. “I was negative about it in my own personal space”, he continued, saying he was “pissed at the world and just mad maybe about where I ended up drafted, what position I was drafted and just felt like a sense of entitlement, like I deserved and was owed to be drafted higher or go somewhere I wanted to go, and in reality, I had no control over that”.

Well, we know where that got him.

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