Johnny Manziel Facing Uncertain NFL Future: Is The End Of ‘Johnny Football’ Near?

Johnny Manziel was on top of the world when the 22-year-old was made a first round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns. Now that world may be on the verge of crumbling beneath Manziel.

His rookie season proved that Manziel is no Russell Wilson.

Wilson joined the Seattle Seahawks in 2012 and helped lead his team to their first ever Super Bowl win. A year later, thanks in part to the tenacity and leadership demonstrated by Russell, the Seahawks earned their second trip to the Super Bowl.

Some football fans (and even those within the NFL) poked fun at the small stature of “Johnny Football,” but this is clearly not what’s holding Manziel back. Not if a talented quarterback an inch shorter than him (Russell stands 5’11 to Johnny’s 6’0) is within touching distance of his second Super Bowl ring within a career not even spanning three years.

Johnny Manziel came to the NFL on a wave of hype, all of which put an unimaginable amount of pressure on the Cleveland Browns franchise.

On the one hand, Manziel could have represented what the team desperately needed: Fresh new blood to reinvigorate a tired franchise going nowhere fast. On the other, Manziel could have revealed himself to be a costly dud.

Wanting to take things slow at first, coach Mike Pettine, who just finished his first season as head coach for the Browns, seemed set on allowing Manziel to learn under Hoyer and get adjusted to playing at the professional level.

Whatever Pettine was seeing in Manziel, he wasn’t the type of young quarterback who could simply slide into a starting role.

There was also the lack of maturity that Johnny seemed to be demonstrating off the field as well. In fact, it was kind of easy to see before the season 2014-15 season even began that Johnny “Football” Manziel didn’t exactly have his priorities in order.

From “money signs” to a trip to Las Vegas, the rookie seemed more about partying than learning the game in a serious enough manner. This was a red flag to many onlookers, but both Manziel and the Browns insisted to the public that all was right with the world.

Then came the ill-timed debut of “Johnny Football.”

Prior to Manziel stepping in for Hoyer, the Browns had suffered back-to-back losses. Even so, a playoff spot was within reach. It’s possible that had the Browns left Brian alone, the team could have clinched a playoff spot. From there, anything is possible.

Instead, the Johnny Manziel-led Browns fell in humiliating fashion to the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Carolina Panthers helped to end his season. The Cleveland Browns ended the season on a major losing streak and with the painfully obvious sense that Johnny Manziel wasn’t the change they needed.

That realization, combined with Johnny Manziel’s continued questionable behavior, has only served to place the rookie’s NFL career in doubt. At least in Cleveland.

Should Johnny Manziel be given his walking papers ahead of the 2015-16 season, it’s possible that another team may be willing to nurture the potential within the young quarterback.

However, as the NFL hype machine moves on to a new wave of promising draft picks, Johnny Manziel is running out of time to demonstrate why anyone should continue to invest time and money on him as a professional football player.

Do you think we’re in the final days of “Johnny Football”?

[Image Credit: Erik Drost]