It's been quite some time since Johnny Manziel last suited up for an NFL game. Manziel sat out the entire 2016 season after his disastrous finish in 2015, and it's not like he was just injured. He essentially played, partied, substance-abused, and off-field-incident-ed his way out of the NFL.
As our Will Brinson chronicled last month,since he last stepped on the field:
- He went to a club in Los Angeles.
- He went to another club in L.A. (He goes to a lot of clubs.)
- He hired a new agent because his old one fired him.
- He went to a club in Miami.
- He went to a Chris Brown concert in Vegas.
- He went to a club in Vegas.
- He went to another club in L.A.
- He got a tattoo.
- He spent some time with Justin Bieber.
- He did $32,000 in damage to a $4.5 million house.
- His new agent fired him and urged him to get treatment.
- He was indicted for misdemeanor assault.
- He was the passenger in a hit-and-run.
- He watched the NFL Draft at a bar.
- He went to Coachella with Josh Gordon.
- He looked surprisingly thin at a Vegas pool party.
- He partied with Leonardo DiCaprio.
- He skipped a Hamptons party/helicopter ride and "allegedly evaded payment of car accident costs."
- He got another tattoo.
- He was allegedly a passenger in another hit-and-run.
- He went to Cabo and stayed in a $7.5 million Mexican rental home.
He was handed a four-game suspension from the NFL last summer if/when he returned, but the NFL cleared that suspension in October so he'd be available to play immediately if signed. Since the end of the season he's made a point to publicly say that he is trying to be a better person and, at one point, was sobering up to get ready for the coming football season.
Manziel also reached a deal to dismiss the domestic violence case he was involved in with his ex-girlfriend.
Now, Manziel says the year away from the game has done him some good. He recognizes his mistakes and is hopeful that some team or another will give him a shot at making a comeback:
The thing he learned the most during this time, Manziel says, is how much he misses football.
It's not going to be easy for him to get back into the game.
NFL teams are typically loath to devote roster spots to players that can potentially cause on- or off-field issues for any reason -- let alone backup quarterbacks, which Manziel would be at best at this point if he were to get another chance -- and everyone knows Manziel will bring a media circus along with him wherever he goes. That's a given at this point. There's also the matter of his alleged history of domestic violence, which could make teams further hesitant to give him a chance at a return to the field.
All it takes is one team that's willing to take the plunge, though, and there could always be a front office or coaching staff that believes it can tap into the talent that made Manziel a first-round pick.