Johnny Manziel is one of the most talked about athletes in the NFL, but he doesn’t even have a job at this point in time. The Cleveland Browns chose to release their young quarterback after two years of disappointing off-the-field problems. Now, Manziel has to figure out how to get another chance.
Cleveland started Josh McCown over Manziel a good portion of last season. McCown was a much more professional player and he did put up solid numbers before going down with injury.
McCown took the time to talk about Manziel and how he needs to find his love for the game. He did talk the young quarterback up as well for his on-the-field abilities.
“He has to eliminate distractions. All the things and people around him that don’t help him move forward as a quarterback, he’s got to eliminate them, get rid of them, they can’t be a part of his life anymore. I spent a year with him, and mentally and physically, he can do it. But he’s got to eliminate distractions and he’s got to move forward, and he’s got to ask himself, ‘Do I love the game?’ If ultimately, in his heart, he doesn’t love the game, he’s going to split his time between all these other things and trying to be good at football, and it’s just a hard sport to do that with.”
He went on to talk more about his doubts about Manziel’s love for the game and how he has to find it.
“It causes you to question whether or not they really love it. I feel like when he was in the meeting, and he was engaged, he absolutely loved it. But it’s a 24/7 deal as a quarterback. That’s the mindset you have to have, and I think that has to improve before somebody will observe you and go, ‘Yeah, you love it.'”
Throughout the two years that Manziel was in Cleveland, there was obvious improvement. He looked a lot better last season than he did as a rookie. Despite that fact, it is hard to take a gamble on talent when the talent comes with major baggage away from the game.
Manziel ended up completing 57.8 percent of his pass attempts for 1,500 yards, seven touchdowns, and five interceptions throughout the course of the 2015 season.
At just 23-years-old, there is no telling what Manziel could do in the future with his potential. As McCown even acknowledged, Manziel has what it takes from a talent standpoint. He is a very smart player as well, but his decisions off-the-field have to catch up to his smarts on-the-field.
If Manziel does want to turn his career around, he’ll have to prove that he has learned from his mistakes and has found the love for the game that McCown is talking about. That is exactly what teams look for in players with rough pasts, but it will take a while for Manziel to prove himself.
Hopefully he is able to get his life on track and save his football career before it’s too late. It is always tough to see a young player give their careers away for absolutely nothing.
It will be interesting to see whether someone gives Manziel a contract before the start of the 2016 season or not.
While things didn’t work out in Cleveland, there is still a chance that he could work out elsewhere. Perhaps being released will open his eyes to the fact that the NFL doesn’t tolerate off-the-field antics.
Do you think that McCown is correct about Johnny Manziel needing to find his love for the game? Will Manziel find a new team before the start of the 2016 season and turn his career around?
[AP Photo/David Richard]