Johnny Manziel Can Only Watch As NFL Career Slips Away

There were enough questions surrounding Johnny Manziel’s career based on physical talent alone before the 2014 draft. But now, with off-the-field issues keeping him on the bench when the Cleveland Browns host the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals today, it looks like Johnny Football is getting a front row seat to his own NFL demise.

As reported by Cleveland.com, Johnny Manziel has been benched yet again, this time in favor of journeyman quarterback Austin Davis. The high-prized first round draft pick of the Browns hasn’t seen the light of day since a video of him partying during the Browns bye week surfaced that featured the outgoing QB with a champagne bottle in hand.

Manziel came out of college at Texas A&M with a reputation for hard partying and infamously checked himself into rehab during this past offseason to help get himself straightened out. As reported by the USA Today, it appeared as if Johnny Football was getting his life and NFL career together at the time.

Johnny Manziel Trade Rumors: Dallas Cowboys [Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images]“I take full responsibility for my actions, and it’s my intention to work very hard to regain everyone’s trust and respect. I understand that will take time and will only happen through what I do and not what I say,” Manziel said. “I also understand there’s a lot of curiosity about this but anyone who has a friend or family member that’s been through things like this knows it’s an ongoing process. I’m going to continue to ask folks to try to respect my privacy as I determine to what degree I am comfortable talking about a subject which I consider very personal.”

But an altercation with police earlier this season, coupled with Manziel’s apparent displeasure over not being named starter over Josh McCown, despite strong performances earlier this season, ultimately lead Johnny back to his partying ways — and back in coach Mike Pettine’s dog house.

Pettine named free agent quarterback Josh McCown the starter for the remainder of the season, and even demoted Johnny Manziel down to 3rd string in the Browns’ loss to the Baltimore Ravens last week. The move had ramifications for the team, as McCown actually went down with a broken collarbone and the team could only turn to backup Austin Davis instead of Manziel.

Coach Pettine then had to wrestle with the decision to turn back to Johnny Football or stick to his guns and keep him benched in favor of Austin Davis. Ultimately, Pettine chose the latter.

“Austin took advantage of his opportunity on Monday night. He was prepared, played well and put us in position to win,” Pettine said in a statement released by the team. “He’s been great in the quarterback room all season and he has earned the right to start on Sunday. We expect him to play well.”

Mike Pettine Johnny Football [Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images]It now appears highly unlikely — barring injury, of course — that Manziel will enter the Cleveland Browns huddle as starter again this season. But that doesn’t mean he won’t stick around past this year. As reported by NBC Sports, there is the possibility of an organizational shift that could reopen the door for Johnny with the Browns or even with a new team.

“At a time when some league insiders believe that it’s a foregone conclusion that Pettine and G.M. Ray Farmer will be fired by owner Jimmy Haslam at the end of the season (if not sooner), the organization likely intends to keep Manziel around, at least for now.”

There is also talk that the Browns could trade Johnny with a potential landing spot finding Manziel back in his native state of Texas and with the Dallas Cowboys.

But more likely than not, the hard partying Johnny Football will simply become yet another example of a player with talent blowing his chance at an NFL career.

[Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images]