Former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel joins new league amid NFL comeback
Johnny Manziel, the former Cleveland Browns quarterback, has announced he has joined the Spring League, a developmental football program that allows standout players to showcase their skills and talent to NFL scouts. CEO Brian Woods made the announcement today, saying “We’re excited to have such a dynamic player in Johnny Manziel taking part in The Spring League. We believe our platform is the ideal forum for Mr. Manziel to enact his NFL comeback.”
This is the second year the Spring League will be in operation, and many free agent players who were overlooked or not invited to participate in the NFL Combine are now given a chance to prove they have what it takes to compete. Mike Florio of NBC Sports said, “At a time when the NFL has no developmental league, The Spring League is the closest thing to an apples-to-apples opportunity for players to get games reps. It’s starting small, but that could be the smartest way to go.”
This is a potentially huge break for Manziel, who has struggled with on and off-field controversies that resulted in him being let go by the Browns in March of 2016. Manziel played two seasons in the NFL, and his short time in the league was marred with instances that brought many to question his value as a professional athlete. In his rookie season with the Browns, over 20 people within the organization questioned his work ethic and commitment to the team. One player who chose to remain anonymous even said his rookie season was a “100 percent joke.”
Withstanding the heat he went through during his time in the NFL, he has been working to clean up his act and prove once again that he deserves a chance to redeem himself. In a press release, he said, “Football has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. Sometimes you take for granted how much you value something until it’s gone. My goal is to make it back to the NFL and I realize I have to earn that privilege. The Spring League has provided me with a great opportunity to play ball again, and ultimately, that is all I want to do. I miss the competition.”
Manziel also recently opened up about diagnosis with bipolar disorder. He accredits this as one of the reasons why his life almost completely fell apart, along with a heavy dependence on alcohol. He said “I am taking medication for bipolar, and I am working to try to make sure I don’t fall back into any type of depression, because I know where that leads me and I know how slippery a slope that is for me. At the end of the day, I can’t help that my wires are a little bit differently crossed than yours. I can’t help my mental makeup or the way that I was created.”
He hopes his time in the Spring League will help him get noticed by the Dallas Cowboys. He has a deep love for the state of Texas, as he played for Texas A&M during his college days. Either way, it’s always good to hear of a wholesome comeback story.