What a difference a year makes for Johnny Manziel? The man formerly known as Johnny Football at this moment a year ago was a few short days from being selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Despite the sketchy decisions Manziel had made in college, the city of Cleveland embraced him almost as much as they did the return of Lebron James.
Manziel had a lot of questions that needed to be answered both on and off the field. Was he fast enough to play the position? Could he learn a more intricate offense? Was he mature enough to handle the spotlight? Had he finally gotten a handle on his partying lifestyle? All of those were answered with a resounding, NO!
Now, just days away from the 2015 NFL Draft, many are wondering if Johnny Manziel needs to be just written off as a bad investment. Many of the questions NFL personnel had about him last year still linger. However, after a time spent in rehab, Browns’ Head Coach Mike Pettine believes Manziel can rebound from the demons that have seemed to haunt him according to an interview with WKYC, Cleveland’s NBC Affiliate.
“This is the one comment that I’ll share that Johnny’s made because he’ll be the first one to say it. Don’t judge me on my words, judge me on my actions. That’s something that in the past, even I’ve been critical of him where the actions have to match what he’s saying. He’s saying the right thing, but it’s not adding up by what he’s doing, and that’s really been a big part of his message coming out.”
Manziel began offseason training on Monday. The player who last year was caught riding an inflatable swan drinking it up in Vegas just weeks after the draft is not the same person according to his head coach.
“When he’s here in the building, he’s just one of the guys. There was no big part of the team meeting where he got up and spoke. I know he has guys that he’s close to that I’m sure he’s had interaction with even before he stepped in the building. I’m sure he’ll handle that as he sees fit, but for us, as a staff, he’s here. He’s just one of the guys here working hard.”
This seems to be a lot different than the story Pettine allegedly told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen earlier in the offseason. Mortensen quoted Pettine as saying the Browns were about 90 percent ready to move on without the services of Johnny Manziel. Pettine denies those reports.
“I don’t know where he would’ve gotten that from. He’s very much in our plans and as we said, his career with us just hit the pause button and we’ve said this before.”
Regardless of whether the report was accurate, the Cleveland Browns are sitting in the same place this year with Johnny Manziel as they were last year at this time. They are entering the draft with a huge question mark lingering at quarterback. In a league that is more and more driven by the signal caller, there is not a lot of room for error.
What do you think of Johnny Manziel and his future in the league? Can he rebound from the personal issues, and if he does, does he even have the talent to take the Browns to the next level?
[Photo by NFL.com]