Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel had a rough start to his career in 2014. On Tuesday, December 23, two days following Cleveland’s loss to the Carolina Panthers, Manziel addressed the media about looking forward to the off-season. He had left Sunday’s game with an injured left hamstring that resulted in the Browns placing him on season-ending injured reserve.
“This is a job for me now and I have to take it a lot more seriously than maybe I did at first”, Manziel said.
On Dec. 26, merely three days after that press conference, Manziel failed to report to treatment for his injured hamstring on time Saturday morning at Cleveland’s headquarters. The reason: he partied late into the night.
This negligent action brings up a question that many are thinking: how can the Cleveland Browns trust him? This evitable circumstance served as a tough souvenir of how undependable and unpredictable the 22-year-old is as a teammate, as well as a professional.
Manziel has frequently exhibited that he is not the type of leader that the Browns want in their locker room. He admitted that he hadn’t taken his job seriously enough, but chose not to do anything about it. Three days later, he could not make it to work on time, resulting in the organization fining him internally.
Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine responded to this situation as any other coach would: with disappointment.
“The talk is cheap,” Pettine said. “He’s gotten himself to the point where his actions, to me, are much more important than what he says. It is unacceptable. Has his behaviour been disappointing? Absolutely.”
Manziel acknowledged his hypocrisy a few days later, saying that he has to be more accountable for his actions, “instead of looking like a jackass”.
“I’m either going to learn, or I’m going to be finding something else to do”, Manziel said.
Former Boston Red Sox right-handed pitcher Curt Schilling has used Twitter as a tool to reach out to Manziel, offering him unsolicited advice.
“Didn’t ask for it, but I’ll throw it out there”, Schilling said via the online social media platform. “If being the best doesn’t consume your every waking thought, do something else.”
Johnny Manziel is not in college anymore. He is no longer a student athlete at Texas A&M where he was the “boss” of campus. He went from being at the top in college, heading straight back towards the bottom of the ranks in the NFL, and he has to build a fresh name for himself. So far, all he has been able to accomplish is having all of the tabloids and celebrity gossip websites fall in love with him. Every week, there’s a new story. It has gotten to the point where ESPN First Take co-host Skip Bayless has referred to Manziel as a “liar” and an “alcoholic”.
“I’m going to be off the bandwagon,” Bayless said on his television program. “I will no longer support a kid that I do like personally, and I have come to that point”.
It takes time to learn how to be a professional. The first step of this process should be to eliminate the college mindset that he entered the season with. That seems to be Johnny Manziel’s most prominent setback. Will he ever escape his Texas A&M mentality?