You can tell we’re in the NFL off-season when this is making news!
Anyway, for those of you not in the know, Johnny ‘Football’ Manziel went on Good Morning America this week in a bid to refresh his image, explain his previous behaviour and declare his intention to ultimately make an NFL comeback. For those of you who haven’t seen it the video is here:
First things first. All credit to the guy for coming out and declaring a mental illness and admitting to using alcohol in an inappropriate way to help him. Mental illness, sadly, still has a negative stigma in today’s society and anyone in any sort of position of influence (which sports stars often are) should be applauded for discussing it publicly. So well done him.
On to the cold hard business that is the NFL though. I can’t see Manziel being given a serious second chance by any franchise. He might get a try out to create a bit of buzz but realistically, Manziel is still nuclear.
Firstly there’s the off the field stuff. Yes, it can be covered by his mental illness but it still happened including being indicted for domestic violence in 2016. Then there’s the alcohol abuse per the above video, drug abuse and various incidents of not showing up at the Cleveland Browns facility. I know these are probably all connected to the mental disorder but in a time when NFL players and are under the most intense scrutiny they’ve ever been under I can’t see any coach or GM wanting to take the risk.
My second point was that I’m not sure he should have ever been given a chance to start for a franchise anyway. Firstly, he’s short. Sorry but QBs that are around the six foot mark come under extra scrutiny (see Baker Mayfield currently) and you need to be something special to be given a chance of success (see Drew Brees). I went back and looked at some of his ‘highlight’ videos from his college games and two things stood out.
- A lot of his highlights are him running the play. True, he’s got great scrambling and then running ability, no doubt about that!
- There are a lot of successful throws that were caught by Mike Evans which showed greater skill on the receiver side then they did that of the quarterback. In fact there were some that probably should have been picked off by the defense!
Take a look here:
He’s made eight career starts in the NFL (which is currently one more than Jimmy Garoppolo by the way) and granted he wasn’t on the best of teams but still, he didn’t set the world alight throwing seven TDs to seven INTs, seven fumbles and a massive 22 sacks! In a time when NFL coaches and the NFL applaud the likes of Case Keenum and Nick Foles for protecting the football and not giving the ball away, these aren’t great stats.
Maybe he’ll get a chance in the Canadian league and currently that looks like the most likely option. The XFL is far from a certainty and even if it were would Manziel be allowed to play due to his arrest record?
Lastly, just a point to NFL owners more than anyone else here. Colin Kaepernick is still a free agent. Aside from kneeling for the anthem and expressing his opinion he’s never been in trouble. Never been arrested. Hasn’t beaten his wife or girlfriend. Doesn’t seem to be reliant on alcohol or other substances of a dubious nature. Has been to a couple of Conference Championship games and a Super Bowl and posses the physical traits of a more typical quarterback. And he can run.
Would the final kick in the teeth to Kaepernick be for Manziel to be given a chance in the NFL?