Former Tivy quarterback Johnny Manziel is getting ready to run on to the field for the first time since 2015 when he plays in the Spring League next month. According to Brian Perroni from 24/7Sports.com, The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, who was out of the NFL after less than two years due to off-the-field issues, has been working with coach George Whitfield in Southern California to prepare for his return to the game.
Also working with him were a pair of receivers from the University of San Diego. With the Toreros’ pro day taking place this past Thursday, the pair did not have a quarterback to throw to them. Manziel stepped up and said he would do it, creating a lot of buzz among NFL teams, who had not seen him throw in three years. In front of 13 teams, Manziel threw 38 passes, missing on only two of them.
For his first time throwing publicly in so long, he felt things went fairly well.
“Man, I thought it went good,” Manziel told Sports Illustrated. “I’d only begun throwing with those guys since like the week before. It’s a precursor for what we’re about to do. It wasn’t flawless or anything. I missed a couple of throws. When we did our pro day [at A&M], I was working with those [receivers] every day. We knew the script without having a piece of paper. With this, you run a slant, you don’t know how those guys are gonna come out of it, but I thought it was good for everybody.”
Manziel, who weighed in at 197 pounds, 10 less than at the NFL Combine in 2014, knows that his on-field talent was never an issue. He has recently gone in-depth about his struggles with alcoholism as well as a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. However, he admitted to SI that there were more substance issues than just alcohol.
“He says he has been sober for almost 90 days—before that he says he did smoke marijuana. ‘As far as hard drugs or anything like that, it’s been almost a year,’ Manziel says.”
Manziel has also seemingly realized what others have seen and have tried to warn him about for a long time. He had been surrounding himself with the wrong people.
“I let them know, ‘Hey, I gotta be selfish in what I’m doing. I gotta do this for me. Listen, I’m not gonna block your number but if I don’t text you back and I don’t answer your calls, don’t be offended. I’ll call you when I get bored and I wanna say what’s up. But don’t invite me on any trips. Don’t tell me to go to Texas to go to [friggin’] Sixth Street. None of that.’ The people I know that are in my life that by no fault of their own are going to want to do something that I just don’t have the luxury of doing anymore. When I first got in the league, did I have some leeway? Sure I did, but I have exhausted all leeway and all second chances. This isn’t the second chance. This is the 35th chance. This is the last of the last chances to show people that I’ve made a drastic change in my life, and it’s for the better and I’m happy with where I’m at.
“I need to be safe for myself. I’ve let multiple people know—guys that had been around me for years, I reached out to a multitude of people and said, ‘Listen, I’ve never been selfish in my football career. I’ve always flown you guys to every game. I’ve gotten you tickets. I’ve done everything. But for now, I’m selfish with what I need to do because I don’t have room for you guys to come around and for me to get off on a bad path. It just can’t happen. I’m happy. I’m married and I’m doing what I’m doing. My wife is my buffer with all of the bulls—. She doesn’t let me get away with any of the B.S. She’s just straight to the point. She has my best interest at heart, and there’s times where I don’t like it. I’m still a stubborn guy—I don’t like listening all the time. I’ve had a lot better sense of being able to sit back and reflect, even if it’s a daily reflection. I have that backstop. I’m working with good people and I’m working the majority of the day.”