As any NFL fan can tell you, pure talent isn’t a guaranteed ticket to success. For every Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson, there are plenty of prospects who can’t make the cut. Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, unfortunately, fell into the latter category.
While the quarterback hasn’t taken the gridiron professionally since 2019, Johnny Football doesn’t seem too different these days. Even without football, he’s still making some poor—not to mention dangerous—choices.
Johnny Manziel’s rise to stardom
These days, it’s tough to look beyond Johnny Manziel’s NFL career. Before he ever made it to the pros, however, the quarterback seemed like a star in the making.
After a strong high school career that included winning the 2010 Mr. Texas Football title, Manziel headed to Texas A&M. His pedigree didn’t guarantee him the starting job, though; he spent his first year on campus as a redshirt. During the following season, however, he would explode onto the scene.
After Ryan Tannehill entered the NFL draft, Manziel stepped into the vacuum and won the starting job. Before anyone realized what happened, the quarterback turned into an overnight sensation; he was able to produce big plays out of nowhere, turning the Aggies into a force to be reckoned with. Manziel threw for 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns while rushing for 1,410 more yards and 21 additional scores during that campaign. Not only did he win the Heisman Trophy, but he became a force of nature simply known as Johnny Football.
After the following season—Manziel threw for more yards and touchdown but ran the ball significantly less—the quarterback entered the 2014 NFL draft. Things at the professional level, however, would be much different.
Flaming out at the NFL level
Heading into the 2014 NFL draft, opinions about Johnny Manziel ran the gamut. Some described him as an intense, albeit unconventional, competitor; others insisted he didn’t have the chops to make it in the pro ranks. The Cleveland Browns, however, decided to find out for themselves.
The club selected Manziel with the 22nd overall pick and slotted him in behind Brian Hoyer. The rookie only started two games during the 2014 season; he completed 51 percent of his passes, throwing two interceptions and no touchdowns for the season. While he saw a bit more action as a sophomore, things didn’t get much better.
Bad decision making, however, would prove to be the end of Manziel’s NFL career. After being ruled out of the Browns’ Week 17 game with a concussion, the quarterback took an impromptu trip to Las Vegas; he then missed his flight back to Cleveland and posted an Instagram photo of himself at home in an attempt to cover things up. Needless to say, his employers weren’t impressed and showed him the door.
Johnny Manziel is still making bad decisions
After being cut by the Cleveland Browns, Johnny Manziel bounced around the fringes of the football world. He spent some time in the Canadian Football League, but found himself banned from the league; he later joined the Alliance of American Football before that organization folded. His poor decisions haven’t been limited to the gridiron, though.
According to Manziel’s Instagram, the former quarterback was recently spending time with some friends at Lake Pleasant Regional Park in Arizona. Rather than simply entering the water, Manziel attempted to jump off a cliff backward; things almost got ugly as he slipped, but he was able to push himself far enough from the rocks to land safely in the water.
While Manziel poked fun at himself on social media, highlighting his “Flawless execution,” things could have ended poorly. During his playing career, the quarterback received a fine for giving the middle finger, infamously jetted off to Vegas, and reportedly lost his job in the CFL after missing mandatory meetings; there have also been plenty of off-field incidents, ranging from simple party fouls to a grand jury indictment. Falling off a cliff could have painfully added to that list of self-inflicted wounds.
As we’ve seen with Antonio Brown, there’s a fine line between zany antics and a legitimately sad situation. Hopefully, Johnny Manziel doesn’t find himself veering into the latter category anytime soon.