November 10th, 2012, many college football fans around the country were tuned in to ABC to watch a prime time match up between the number one team in the country, Alabama, and the 15th ranked school, Texas A&M. #1 vs #15 isn’t usually always a must watch match up but this was different. This game featured a highly touted quarterback for the A&M Aggies named Johnny Manziel, aka Johnny Football. Anybody with the nickname Johnny Football automatically is going to turn heads. Johnny did just that during that game. During the 1st quarter, Manziel marched down the field with grace and flair and threw his first touchdown of the game to take a 14-0 lead. While watching the rest of the game, America witnessed the birth of a star. Manziel ended the contest with 253 passing yards on 24 out 31 attempts. He also had 92 rushing yards. More than his game and his flair, Johnny captured the hearts of fans all over with his little stature, 6’0/214 lbs, and his fearless attitude, going into one of the toughest college football environments as a freshman to capture an upset win over the best team in the country. Four years, one Heisman, and a few arrests later, Manziel has now been reportedly indicted by a Grand Jury in the domestic abuse case against his ex-girlfriend. He is now one of the most hated athletes in the country.
There were signs of immaturity from Johnny in college. He did things like show up late to QB camps, party a little too hard, and taunt opponents like no other, but his talent and heart far overshadowed all of that. With those things in mind, the Cleveland Browns still selected Manziel with the 22nd pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Browns, and the city of Cleveland in general, had high hopes that Manziel could put aside his childish past and use his star presence and unlimited potential to bring the city some success. After a lackluster rookie season with 175 yards passing, 0 touchdowns and only 5 games played, people started to lose hope with Johnny. To better understand the subsequent events of his troubles, here’s a timeline of events that have taken place.
January 28, 2015: Manziel gets help and checks himself into a treatment facility, presumably for alcoholism. The Browns applaud this move as do members of the NFL and Media alike.
April 17: Johnny checks out of rehab and issues a statement in which he apologizes to his friends, family, coaches and teammates and says he is eager to get to work on reshaping his image.
October 12: A dashcam video shows a police pulling over Manziel and his girlfriend Colleen Crowley, citing numerous calls from people complaining about a speeding BMW. Crowley then tells police that Manziel was preventing her from leaving the car by assaulting her. No charges were made though, as Crowley downplayed the incident afterwards.
January 3, 2016: Johnny misses the Browns game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. According to USA Today, Manziel was spotted partying in Las Vegas during the time of the game wearing a disguise.
January 30: During the morning hours of January 30th, Crowley says she was grabbed against her will by Manziel, and taken into a car. Before getting in the car, she managed to escape his grasp and went to hide in some nearby bushes. “He grabbed me by my hair and threw me back into the car and got back in himself,” says Crowley, “He hit me with his open hand on my left ear for jumping out of the car. I realized immediately that I could not hear out of that ear, and I still cannot today, two days later.” They headed to her apartment in Fort Worth and during the ride, Manziel apparently threatened to kill both himself and her. Once they reached the apartment, Manziel allegedly smashed her phone causing her to grab a knife and advance towards him. He then fled the scene. Once reached by TMZ Sports, he denied ever hitting Crowley.
February 5: Johnny’s father, obviously worried for his son, tells the Dallas Morning News that Manziel has denied entering a substance abuse facility on two separate occasions. “I truly believe that if we don’t get him help, he won’t live to see his 24th birthday.” said Paul Manziel. To make matters worse, Johnny’s agent Erik Burkhardt reportedly dropped him as a client, saying that he would “remain a friend” to the troubled young star.
February 25: Dallas Police have announced that they have sent Manziel’s case to a district attorney as a misdemeanor assault/domestic violence case. The case will be sent to a grand jury.
March 11: The Cleveland Browns have announced that they will release Johnny Manziel, making the troubled QB a free agent for the first time. A week later, Johnny hires esteemed agent Drew Rosenhaus to take on his career.
April 13: After a car accident in LA which involved Johnny after a rumored night of partying, and reports surfaced of Manziel partying at Coachella, his agent drops him as a client. “I have in formed him that if he takes the immediate steps I have outlined for him that I will rescind the termination and continue to represent him,” Rosenhaus said. “Otherwise the termination will become permanent. There is a five-day window for me to rescind the termination. I’m hoping he takes the necessary steps to get his life back on track.” The five days came and went with no improvement from Manziel.
April 25: It is reported today by a Dallas TV News station that Johnny has been indicted on misdemeanor assault charges by a grand jury. Manziel’s case will be sent to trial and he faces up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
The story of talented young athletes squandering away talent for immature actions has been a tale told way too often, with Manziel being the latest character. Compared to his Heisman winning college career, Manziel’s NFL career has been terrible. He has a record of 2-6 as a starter and only managed to pile up 1,675 yards passing with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. Unless something drastic happens, Manziel will probably never play another NFL game again. Despite this, we will always have memories like the Alabama and Texas A&M game that will ring in our heads and make us hopeful that maybe one day, his story can turn into one of redemption. Please Johnny, no more parties in LA…
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