Once upon a time, Johnny Manziel was the toast of college football. He was affectionately known as "Johnny Football," and turned himself into a first-round draft pick with the Cleveland Browns. He was on top of the world.
After just two years in the NFL, those closest to Manziel just hope he gets the help he needs.
In the most glaring of statements, Manziel's father, Paul, told the Dallas Morning News, “I truly believe if they can’t get him help, he won’t live to see his 24th birthday.”
The report went on to say that they tried to enter Manziel into two separate rehab locations, but he declined to enter either of the programs.
His dad's concerns aren't it, either. His agent, and self-admitted friend to Manziel, Erik Burkhardt announced formally that he has severed his professional relationship with the quarterback.
Among the highlights of the statement, Burkhardt said:
"Though I will remain a friend and Johnny supporter, and he knows I have worked tirelessly to arrange a number of professional options for him to continue to pursue, it has become painfully obvious that his future rests solely in his own hands. His family and I have gone to great lengths to outline the steps we feel he must take to get his life in order. Accountability is the foundation of any relationship, and without it, the function of my work is counterproductive."
On Thursday, Manziel's ex-girlfriend told police in Texas that he allegedly "struck her several times" last Saturday, both in a hotel where they were staying and in a vehicle on the way to her apartment. Some time after their arrival, the police report said Colleen Crowley ran to a neighbor's house, while Manziel "fled on foot," although no charges had been filed against Manziel according to NFL.com.
The Browns appeared to have given up on Manziel, too.
"Johnny's continual involvement in incidents that run counter to those expectations undermines the hard work of his teammates and the reputation of our organization," Browns executive vice president Sashi Brown said on Monday through a team statement. "His status with our team will be addressed when permitted by league rules. We will have no further comment at this time."
In NFL-speak, "addressed when permitted by league rules" is a painfully obvious way to state that Manziel will be released by the team, but they are not permitted to do so until after the Super Bowl is over.
Consistently in the dog house with former Browns head coach Mike Pettine, Manziel at one point in the latter stages of the season didn't go to the team's final game and instead went to Las Vegas, trying to trick everyone by posting a picture on social media of him and his dog with an Ohio location. A report from ESPN Las Vegas said Manziel was trying to go by the alias of "Billy" whilst partying in the city.
Manziel is 23, and over the course of two seasons, has appeared in 14 games, starting eight of them, while throwing for seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.