When will it end? When will there be a time when someone hears the name Johnny Manziel we can talk and think about good things rather than negative things. Well I have an answer for you, the answer is never. Johnny Manziel has done one thing very well almost to a Hall of Fame or shall I say Hall of Shame level and it has nothing to do with a football field. Since his departure from Texas A&M and the day he declared for the NFL Draft in 2014, Johnny Manziel has been not only the least valuable player but the least valuable person in the entire NFL. Most people have argued that this is only because Manziel was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. While I can agree with that, I think there is much more to the current spiraling downfall of Johnny Manziel.

First off in terms of history the combination of youth and success leads to bad things– case in point OJ Simpson, Tiger Woods, and Ryan Leaf. Simpson was one of the most popular athletes of the 1970’s only to enter the mid 90’s on trial for a murder, Tiger Woods endured the most publicly embarrassing sex scandal of all-time (Bill Clinton is thankful), last but not least we have Ryan Leaf. It is very easy in the current moments of Manziel’s life to compare Leaf to Manziel. Both player’s came into the NFL with much hype surrounding them with Leaf owning one solid season in college and Manziel with two highly successful seasons. Quite possibly in terms of production, Manziel had the best two-year window in collegiate football history. With that production came fame, with that fame came notoriety, with notoriety comes pressure, with pressure comes either a success story or a downfall.

Johnny Manziel
(USA TODAY Sports)

Let’s go back to the 2014 NFL Draft. Not one player on the Radio City Music Hall stage had more media-buzz than Manziel and that was well-earned for good reason. As stated earlier, two years at Texas A&M and Manziel brought home the Heisman, and was easily one of the best quarterback’s in the nation with a rare ability to extend plays and imposing his will as a dual-threat QB. Simply put, the microscope was zeroed in on “Johnny Football” where would he go? Initially I thought between the top 10-20 picks Manziel would be drafted. I was a little off with Manziel being drafted at 22nd overall by none other than the Cleveland Browns.

Immediately after Johnny left the stage with a Browns cap on I spoke out loud and said these words “this is going to be a disaster from the start”. Man was I right. The combination of a dysfunctional player and a dysfunctional franchise is like putting Kourtney and Kurt together all over again. This was never going to work, if somehow by some miracle had Johnny Manziel become a changed man and cleaned his image up completely, Cleveland would have found another way to point the finger and blame the player rather than the deplorable upper management because that is just what the Cleveland Browns franchise does.

We are in mini-camp and we are already hearing reports of RG3’s demise— it’s MINI-CAMP keep calm Cleveland. What if Johnny Football was drafted by another team with a starter in place that could have taught Johnny to be a pro while learning the NFL game as a backup? Would as much shade be thrown? Probably a fair amount but not nearly as much as it is today. I really believe that this is because the only team Manziel has ever been a part of is the Cleveland Browns and sorry Cleveland I know you guys have a lot to happy about right now but your football team has failed you time and time again. If the Browns win the Superbowl this year hell will literally freeze over.

It is highly debatable whether or not Manziel would be under as much scrutiny if the chips fell differently– that is a debate for another day, but I think there is a fine line of reality within that concept that unfortunately most have not acknowledged. While reading this I know what you are thinking “You are making excuses for Manziel” no I am not but to have 25 soon to be 26 different quarterback’s since the league decided to bring back the Browns in 1999 is a problem on both sides, not just one. Make no mistake about it as my Dad told me when I was a child “you are responsible for your own actions” and I am a firm believer in that but every story starts somewhere and Manziel’s started with his Manziel-Mania fame at Texas A&M and could possibly end in a prison cell.

What amazes me about today’s world is that in reading or saying that statement some people would laugh. I don’t consider this funny or even and enjoyable story to write, I consider this to be very sad. Sad in the fact that Johnny Manziel is a son and a brother that is in need of serious help. I firmly believe that he would have something to offer a team if he could stay sober long enough to offer his talents and stay out of trouble and represent a franchise as a professional. I have the very same thought about Tim Tebow as well, but we will never have to question the integrity of Tim Tebow as a person. Manziel has a long road to recovery and it will become even longer if he feels it is a road not worth traveling down. This appears to be the case. We also know that this is a road Johnny has to go down alone. If so, this is a classic case of a triumphant story turned tragedy. One that I had never hoped to see. God knows somewhere out in Texas is a little kid that saw Johnny do the unthinkable at A&M and thought to himself I want to be the next Johnny Manziel. That is the power that these athletes have because sports transcend, they inspire people to drive towards perfection within themselves. While it is so easy to point the finger and laugh at Johnny, this is someone in need of serious help and with the path way he is walking down now one can assume this story could end in a real tragedy after all. Will anyone be laughing then?

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