What Happened to Johnny Football?

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Former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was once at the top of his game. As a star quarterback at Texas A&M, he quickly received recognition as a freshman due to his impressive performance on the field. In 2014, Manziel was drafted by the Cleveland Browns as the 22nd overall pick. However, after two tumultuous seasons with the Browns, he was let go and is currently a free agent.

On June 30, the NFL announced Manziel had been suspended for four games due to violating their substance abuse policy. To add insult to injury, Paul Manziel, his father, said in a frank and heartbreaking interview with ESPN, “I don’t know what to say other than my son is a druggie and he needs help.” His father even admitted to sending Manziel to rehab earlier this year, though he claims he “escaped” and did not return.

With pending investigations of domestic violence from an incident involving his former girlfriend in January, reports that he trashed a rental home in Los Angeles, among other NFL code of conduct violations, it seems that Johnny Football’s story of incredible success has taken a dramatic, sad, and self-inflicted turn. But what happened? How could football’s rising star become a suspended, free agent “druggie” in a mere two years?

Johnny Manziel’s story yet again proves that drug addiction knows no bounds, regardless of socio-economic level or sheer natural-born talent. Further, no amount of twitter followers, celebrity status, or supportive, loving parents could keep him clean, sober, and on the field. Perhaps the most sobering part of Manziel’s story is the media’s love of highlighting the gross failures of those once celebrated. Sadly, what is left is a 23-year old kid who let fame and fortune have their devious and corruptible way. One can only hope that his recent admission that July 1st would mark the start of his journey to sobriety—according to a source to ESPN—is met with the same amount of motivation and determination that Manziel once demonstrated on the field.