Johnny Manziel may be working out and represented again by an agent, but that doesn’t mean NFL teams are rushing to see whether he might be of service at a time when quarterbacks are at a premium.
Even Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who might have drafted Manziel out of Texas A&M in 2014 but for the prudence of his son, is being circumspect about Manziel, who washed out after two poor seasons with the Cleveland Browns.
“Enough has been said,” Jones told the Dallas Morning News at the scouting combine in Indianapolis. “I certainly admire the same things all of the A&M fans have admired about him, but I recognize just as everybody does, including him, his challenges. So that’s about all I can say. We are aware of him. He is a talented guy.”
That’s easy for Jones to say. He has Dak Prescott and, for now, Tony Romo on the roster. Jones chose not to speculate where Manziel is concerned. Last week, agent Erik Burkhardt took Manziel back as a client after dumping him in February 2016. Manziel had just been involved in an altercation with his then-girlfriend that resulted in a misdemeanor assault charge filed against him. That was the last straw in a string of poor decisions that resulted in Manziel more often being shown partying in viral images and videos than working out, finally ending with being cut by the Browns.
The situation became so dire that Manziel’s father said he was worried that his son might not live to see his 24th birthday last December, but Burkhardt seemed encouraged.
“Though I 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,” Burkhardt said in a statement announcing his decision. “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.”
As for his legal problems, Manziel worked out a deal with Dallas prosecutors in which the assault charge would be dismissed if he completed an anger-management course, attended a domestic violence impact panel and either participated in the NFL’s substance-abuse program or went to a court-approved rehabilitation facility. Last week, he told the judge in his case that his life was “trending upward” during a status hearing. If he does manage to return to the NFL, he could be suspended under the personal conduct policy for six games because of the domestic-violence charge.
Over the weekend, he posted Instagram photos boasting of his girlfriend (“When you know, you know”) and renewed dedication to football.
“Your hate only fuels me I was put on this earth for a purpose and I wasn’t living that these past couple years. Those days are done!” he wrote. “Back to college station for the weekend to work with this team and I CANT WAIT to be back HOME IN AGGIELAND. Back to the basics and where it all started.”