Johnny Manziel has made headlines both on and off the field during his time in college football and his two-year stint in the NFL. After a year out of the game, Manziel took to instagram to announce he was planning to make a comeback inthe NFL. But for now, lets look back at how Johnny Manziel’s career has panned out thus far.
High School career
Manziel experienced a glittering High School career that expanded over the course of four years. For Tivy High School, Manziel was the recipient of many first-class honours, most notably, he was the only quarterback in America to be named as a Parade All-American in his senior year. In his three years as a starter, Manziel completed 63.5% of his passes for 7,626 with 76 touchdowns. But despite all the accolades and the impressive numbers, he was not widely recruited. A 3-star prospect according to Scout and Rivals, Scout had him as the 45th best QB in his class, while Rivals had him 97th and ESPN 78th. He chose Texas A&M over Oregon, where he would back up Ryan Tannehill.
Johnny Manziel red-shirted 2011 and did not feature in any games. Starter Ryan Tannehill left for the NFL following the 2011 season and he won the starting job during camp. He soon made headlines after a record breaking display when Texas A&M took on Arkansas. In this game, Manziel broke the record for total offensive yards in a game with 557 yards, a 43-year old record previously held by Archie Manning. But that record too did not stand for long, as it was soon beaten… by Manziel two games later. He recorded 576 yards of total offence against Louisiana Tech University. Manziel’s stock was rising rapidly across college football. He became only the fifth player in NCAA history to pass for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 yards in a season. But above all, he won the Heisman Trophy, becoming the only freshman to ever win the illustrious award.
Manziel continued to set records and look impressive in the 2013 season, posting improved offensive numbers across the board for Texas A&M. In his 26-game college career, Manziel set at least 35 school, SEC and NCAA records, and was now a national superstar. ( After another astonishing year, many journalists were tipping Manziel to enter the 2014 draft, despite being eligible to play two further seasons of NCAA football. Whilst many thought that it may be too early for the Heisman Trophy winner, he eventually declared availability for the 2014 NFL Draft, which brought the attention to many NFL scouts.
2014 NFL Draft
He was considered a once-in-a-generation run-around/ backyard-football style QB, but many scouts seriously questioned whether his unique skill set and style would translate to the NFL. Due to his size, style of play and lack of experience – he was viewed as an extremely high-risk/ high-reward prospect. Most had a mid-1st to late-2nd round grade on him.
Manziel was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the 22nd Overall Pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Whilst his footballing talents were unquestionable, some critics began to raise questions over the quarterbacks attitude, with former NFL Head Coach Barry Switzer describing him as “Too arrogant”. Nevertheless, he was now officially an NFL player, and expectations grew exponentially.
Johnny Manziel had to be patient in his rookie season and wait until week 13 to make his debut as a Cleveland Brown. In the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills, Manziel took centre stage for the Browns. He completed 5/8 passes for 63 yards in a 26-10 loss, but nonetheless showed signs of being a potential star. In the five games he featured in during his rookie season, Manziel finished with 18 completions for 175 yards with no touchdowns, but was unable to secure a win under his belt. Despite this, the signs were pointing towards a positive future in the NFL.
The 2015 season showed areas of improvement for Manziel on the field. His completion percentage increased from 51.4% the previous season, to 57.8% the next season. He also threw for 1,500 yards with seven touchdowns in the 9 games in which he featured in. However, it all began to go downhill after the Browns bye week in week 11, after videos surfaced on social media of Manziel partying in Texas. As a result, Manziel was then benched for the following game against the Baltimore Ravens.
He would eventually replace a benched Austin Davies and despite a maligned INT in his return performance, he went 21 of 31 for 270 yards and 1 TD in a 27-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers. This snapped the Browns seven game losing streak. He started the next two games, losing to the Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs. In these two performances he went a combined 32 of 64 (50% completion) for 297 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs. He also rushed 13 times fir 125 yards.
Johnny Manziel would then miss the final game of the season with a concussion. Despite this, videos later emerged of Manziel apparently partying in Las Vegas. The troubled QB missed a team-required check in on the morning of the Browns final game – further adding to the claims that he was partying in Las Vegas.
Off the field issues
Manziel’s off the field issues could take up more of this article than the heroics he performed on it. Before his first college game after being named the starter, he was arrested and charged with three misdemeanors – disorderly conduct, failure to identify, and possession of a fictitious driver’s license. These charges stemmed for a late-night fight in College Station, Texas. He was also investigated by the NCAA over whether he accepted payments for autographs. He also attracted significant media attention after his early departure from the Manning Passing Academy after allegedly oversleeping.
Prior to the 2015 season (his second the NFL), Manziel entered a treatment program for unspecified reasons in February. In May 2015 security and police were called after Manziel threw a water bottle at a man who heckled him at the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament.
During the 2015 season he was pulled over in October after fighting with his then girlfriend in a car. Although no chargers were pressed, Manziel admitted he had been drinking alcohol. He was demoted to the third string for the game against Baltimore (previously referenced) after a video emerged of him partying – it later emerged he had lied about the video. The Las Vegas casino partying video has also been referenced – Manziel stated that he missed the final game due to a concussion.
In January 2016, Manziel’s marketing agency cut ties with him. His agent, Erik Burkhardt, also announced he would no longer represent Manzie. On February 5, 2016, the Dallas Police re-opened an investigation into domestic violence with allegations stemming from an altercation on January 30,2016, at a downtown Dallas hotel. On April 19, NFL super agent Drew Rosenhaus terminated Manziel as a client, the first time in Rosenhaus’ 27-year career he fired an NFL player. The same day Nike ended its relationship with Manziel. In June, his attorney, Bob Hinton, accidently sent a text to the Associate Press in which he questioned Manziel spending around c.$1,000 at The Gas Pipe, a drug paraphernalia store.
Manziel’s father has told ESPN that “he’s a druggie. It’s not a secret that he’s a druggie.” The Cleveland Browns released their 2014, 22nd overal pick on March 11, 2016.
Johnny Manziel took to instgram to hint at a possible return to the NFL. After reportedly attending councelling sessions to try and overcome his troubles off the field, Manziel is now fully focused on trying to persuade NFL scouts to give the former Heisman Trophy winner a second chance in the league. Reports have emerged that Manziel met with New Orleans Saints Head Coach, Sean Payton, and many are wondering whether any team is willing to take a chance on the talented but troubled signal caller. However, one thing is for certain – we have not heard the last of Johnny Football.