From Aggie to Assault: The Fall of Johnny Manziel
As soon as the Cleveland Browns selected Johnny Manziel, I knew that the team was in for a roller coaster ride. Sure, he was talented, but he was undersized and was really only popular because of his ability to escape from defenders and make highlight reel type plays. Manziel also was notorious for his off-the-field antics, which he would frequently post about on various social media outlets. Not only that, but Manziel had been investigated by the NCAA in his final year at Texas A&M for allegedly accepting money in exchange for his signature on memorabilia. His NFL career would start off in a very similar fashion.
During his first ever preseason game, Manziel flipped off the Washington Redskins bench and was fined $12,000. Even before his first career NFL regular season, Manziel was already in trouble. Manziel would finish his rookie season with his fair share of fines and headlines. Manziel was not very popular within the organization; one Browns player even said that Johnny Manziel was a “100 percent joke” during his rookie season. Later on that year, only days after talking to the press about how he planned to be the Browns starting QB, team security was dispatched to his home after Manziel failed to show up at the team’s facility as they were packing up to leave for the team’s final game of the season. Team sources said that security found Manziel “drunk off his a**.” As a result, the Browns fined Manziel for missing treatment on his injured hamstring and had him sit in the locker room for the entire game. After the season, it was very much like a “Where’s Waldo?” game with Manziel. He was featured in social media posts in Miami, Houston, Aspen, and many other places. He checked himself into rehab for treatment that February and would remain there for two months. People began to cross their fingers for a possible fix to the Manziel issue. The jury was still out as to whether or not it would work.
It didn’t. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, in October, Manziel and his then girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, were questioned by police after the couple was pulled over on the highway and reportedly had a domestic dispute that ended with Manziel pulling Crowley back into the car after she tried to exit the vehicle. Afterwards, Manziel admitted that he had been drinking prior to getting into the car with Crowley. After the incident, the New York Post published an article that quoted unnamed Browns employees who wanted Manziel to end his relationship with Crowley because of the “turbulent nature of the relationship.” Then, during the Browns bye-week in November, Manziel travelled to Texas (against the wishes of the Browns). A video emerged of Manziel partying and drinking at a bar in Austin. According to a CBS Sports article, when team officials asked Johnny about the video, he not only lied to the team by telling them that the video was old, but he had also called his friends and told them to lie for him. This incident came only a few days after Manziel was named the Browns starter for the rest of the season. Manziel was then demoted to 3rd string QB by the Browns. It wouldn’t be long before Manziel would make headlines again. In Week 16 of this past season, Manziel apparently sustained a concussion that put him out for Week 17. That concussion, according to a recent Bleacher Report article, was not real. The article explains that, Manziel supposedly showed up drunk to a practice that week. The Browns then said Manziel was in the concussion protocol and sent him home shortly after. The Browns subsequently denied lying about Manziel’s concussion. Unfortunately, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
At the beginning of this month, Manziel had his name all over the press again for all the wrong reasons. Manziel was under investigation for domestic violence. CNN reported that, on January 30, Fort Worth police responded to a report of domestic violence where a 23-year-old female had reportedly been struck multiple times by her boyfriend in Dallas the night before. That female was Colleen Crowley, and the man was none other than Johnny Manziel. Johnny denied being involved in the incident. A recent ESPN article claimed that Crowley’s attorney told a local Fort Worth station that Manziel allegedly hit Crowley so hard that it ruptured her left eardrum. Crowley was granted a protective order against Manziel, which means that he has to stay away from her for two years. In her affidavit, which ESPN obtained, Crowley details the absolutely brutal and scary night in Dallas when Manziel allegedly assaulted her. She claims that she is still concerned for her health and well-being. Manziel is now under criminal investigation for domestic abuse. The Browns have responded by declaring that they have had enough with Manziel and will cut him on March 9. The damage did not stop there for Manziel. Manziel’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, said that he would be dropping Manziel as a client. Even worse, in an interview with The Dallas Morning News, Paul Manziel, Johnny’s father, said, “I truly believe if they can’t get him help, he won’t live to see his 24th birthday.” Johnny’s world is falling apart piece by piece as he continues to wreak havoc. Luckily for him, people have reached out in order to try and help. But, as of now, he is out of a job and facing serious criminal charges.
Is this the end of Johnny Manziel? We shall see.
Photo courtesy of Larry Brown Sports