Former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel is taking steps toward an attempted return to football, and it appears that there is some legitimate interest in the former Heisman Trophy winner. Yahoo! Sports reports that Manziel has re-hired agent Erik Burkhardt, who severed ties with Manziel last year after the former Cleveland Browns quarterback was involved in several off-the-field incidents that seemed to doom his NFL career at the time. Burkhardt agreed to take Johnny Manziel back as a client only after Manziel “made serious commitments” regarding his personal life and football career.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Manziel and his agent are peddling his wares at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, and there is said to be “real interest” in Manziel from teams attending the combine, per NFL insider Ian Rapoport. During a recent court appearance, Johnny Manziel responded to a lecture from the judge by making the following comments about the state of his life.
“Everything has been going extremely smoothly and my life is trending upward, so I don’t even want to let this get anywhere near the rabbit hole that you were describing. This situation is in my hands…I need to get my life in order. These are the things I need to do.”
CBS Sports shares that while making an appearance at a recent autograph signing, Johnny Manziel told those in attendance that he is taking his potential NFL comeback very seriously, and he would be happy to sign with any team that would be willing to take a chance on him. The key for Manziel is to take his words and turn them into action; he has made many statements over the past year indicating that he is cleaning up his act and wants to return to the NFL, but his behavior has often been counter to this.
Despite all the talk of being sober and preparing for his return to the NFL, Manziel was photographed within the past few days “smoking and drinking” while partying on a yacht in Miami, as described by the Daily Mail. Manziel has a history of talking the talk, but not walking the walk, so skepticism among teams, media and fans is understandable. Manziel’s penchant for empty statements even goes back to a time when he was not yet an NFL player. His now-infamous texts to the Cleveland Browns during the NFL Draft in 2014 boasted that if the Browns drafted him, they would “wreck this league together” — and we all know how that turned out.
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Fansided opines that there are three teams that can offer Johnny Manziel the right situation to succeed in his NFL comeback. The New York Giants have a veteran quarterback in Eli Manning who is now on the downside of his career but could be an excellent mentor to Manziel. The Giants are going to need a replacement for Manning in the coming years, but there is no one on the current roster who appears to be Eli Manning’s heir apparent, so there may be an opportunity for Manziel in New York.
Manziel and the Dallas Cowboys have been linked in numerous reports since his release from the Cleveland Browns a year ago, and this piece once again champions the Cowboys as a choice destination for the former Texas A&M star. Many observers feel that the Cowboys are going to trade quarterback Tony Romo during the offseason, which will leave an open spot behind starter Dak Prescott. Prescott is a very young player himself and not an ideal tutor for Manziel, but team owner Jerry Jones has expressed strong interest in Johnny Manziel in the past, so a match between Manziel and the Cowboys does seem plausible.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger could offer another promising opportunity for Manziel to resurrect his NFL career. Roethlisberger has said that is not going to play much longer, and the team is reportedly not sold on either Landry Jones or Zach Mettenberger as his eventual replacement. Roethlisberger’s playing style is actually very similar to that of Manziel, and being part of the Steelers organization would give Johnny Manziel the structured environment he needs to make a successful NFL comeback.
The public seems fascinated by the ongoing saga of Johnny Manziel, as he went from big-time college football star to NFL washout in a very short amount of time. Manziel’s story is far from over, but if he is to find any success as an NFL quarterback, he will have to accomplish that through actions, not words.
[Featured Image by Rick Osentoski/AP Images]