There’s no shortage of talent across the NFL with every team seemingly possessing at least one superstar player who the media gravitates to because of their abilities on the field. However, there are also plenty of players who garner attention for the wrong reasons. With their names constantly in the headlines, their respective organizations often encounter major distractions. Here are three players who everyone is tired of hearing about.
1. Johnny Manziel
In his first two seasons in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns, Johnny Manziel has been more hype than production, seeing the field sparingly over that span. He was the most noteworthy prospect in the 2014 draft class in large part due to the huge amount of success he saw during his collegiate career at Texas A&M when he won numerous awards and became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. Since then, “Johnny Football” has received intense media attention for his excessive partying.
Following his arrival to the professional ranks, the scale tipped toward his off-the-field behavior with the scrutiny heightening with every move he makes. This completely overshadowed his performance on the field and severely limited his opportunity to become a long-term starting quarterback in the NFL. With a criminal investigation looking into the alleged assault of his ex-girlfriend, he faces some serious questions about the future of his career. If the allegations turn out to be true and he is found guilty of the crime, Manziel will face a lengthy suspension due to violating the league’s domestic violence policy.
All of this has led to his expected release from the Browns on March 9, which is the first day the team can follow through with that action. At this point in his NFL career, Manziel has been an endless distraction because of the continuous off-the-field incidents that only make teams shudder at the idea of bringing him aboard. What he has become, more than anything, is a player who’s known by his name in the tabloids and not by his play, which could likely spell the end to his brief NFL career.
2. Robert Griffin III
Robert Griffin III entered the NFL following a well-decorated college career at Baylor, which included winning the Heisman Trophy. He carried that production over to his first season with the Washington Redskins, amassing much success playing out of the read option formation that helped him win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year title, a Pro Bowl selection, and the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week (seven times). However, Griffin’s exciting play that centered around the use of his legs and track-level speed had heavy consequences, leading to him needing surgery to repair both his LCL and ACL in the offseason.
Things quickly plummeted from that point on as he struggled to stay healthy the following year after dislocating his ankle. When Griffin returned he was unable to find any level of consistency that matched his historic rookie campaign. With the league quickly adjusting to the read option formation, Griffin III struggled to throw with accuracy in the pocket and no longer displayed the same mobility he had prior to the severe leg injuries.
This eventually led to him permanently losing his starting job to his incumbent, Kirk Cousins, at the start of the 2015 regular season. During the last two seasons, Griffin became a player focused on himself rather than the team. With the writing on the wall that his tenure with Washington is over, there are already plenty of rumors floating around that he could wind up with the Dallas Cowboys. If so, expect him to become a glorified backup for “America’s Team.”
3. Greg Hardy
In his first four seasons with the Carolina Panthers, Greg Hardy was on the fast track to stardom as the anchor to one of the league’s best defenses. He recorded back-to-back double-digit sack totals in his third and fourth years, including a Panthers’ single-season record of 15 sacks in 2013 that helped him receive his first Pro Bowl selection and a nomination to Second-Team All-Pro by the Associated Press. His impressive play also earned him a significant pay raise in the offseason with the team placing the franchise tag on him.
However, his world came tumbling down shortly afterward as he was found guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend and was sentenced to 18 months probation. His season also ended abruptly as he landed on the commissioner’s exempt list after the first game of the 2014 regular season. With details leaking out about the incident over the last year, it has developed a monster-like persona for him. But Hardy hasn’t expressed any remorse or regret for his actions. Instead, he carries the strong belief that he hasn’t done anything wrong, which rubs many the wrong way and only worsens his image across the league.
This behavior, along with his reportedly excessive partying this past season, has cost him any chance of a potential return with the Cowboys. Hardy is a talented player, but his poor behavior and track record off the field could keep him out of the league. All of this keeps him a potent topic of discussion for all the wrong reasons. He’s without a doubt one of the players who everyone is tired of hearing about.