In breaking news from ESPN reporter Jeremy Fowler, Cleveland Browns’ draft choice and second-year NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel will have “completed two months of treatment and is expected to report to offseason workouts starting April 20.” It was Manziel’s decision to enter the treatment facility on January 28 with the goal of being “a better family member, friend and teammate.”
The decision Manziel made was welcomed by many who only wanted the best for the former Aggie standout, after he got off to a self-inflicted rough start in his professional NFL career. It could be said that his most recent prior lifestyle as a celebrated college athlete and the acclaim of the Heisman Trophy had not prepared him sufficiently. One could realistically contend that the instant fame, fortune, endorsements, and an abundance of circumstances would distract even the most settled of professional athletes. Manziel’s exuberance for life and risk-taking came to a close earlier this year when he decided to take back his out-of-control life.
Manziel, now 22 years old, and his family had requested privacy from the media during his treatment time, and ESPN’s announcement of his expected re-entry into the world of the Cleveland Browns is clearly his signal that he is prepared to compete, as only Manziel can compete, for the chance to lead the team that has prepared well for his return, by providing him with an NFL mentor–and competitor–for the starting QB spot, Josh McCown.
McCown has the total team attitude going for him as he was reported as saying, in Sporting News:
Johnny is a person, and every person that I come across has value to me, and they matter. So I want to help him as much as I can with all parts of it, but to grow as a person and as a player and to help him go on and have a fruitful career.”
Although given the investment the Browns organization made in Manziel, he is definitely, but conditionally, considered a contender for the starting quarterback spot amidst a sea of four potential candidates. As noted by ESPN, the starting spot is wide open. Josh McCown has the most professional football experience, with 69 games played and 11,033 passing yards to his credit. Thad Lewis is on the roster, having played 7 games and passed for 1,296 yards. Manziel is third-most experienced with five games played and 175 passing yards.
Browns fans, however, should not overlook the potential, talent, and maturity of teammate Connor Shaw, who last year was a first-year draft pick and record-setting SEC star for the University of South Carolina. In just one pro game played last season, Shaw adeptly directed the offense to score and threw for 177 yards, with an injured hand while doing it. There’s a natural chemistry between Shaw and the offensive line, if only using one game to judge, but it’s anyone’s guess as to how the offseason will shake out for all concerned.
The position of starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns is in somewhat of an ersatz “reset” mode, and Johnny Manziel has been given a do-over. It’s easy to critique, criticize, and place an immense proportion of expectations upon any team to win every game, every season, and the Cleveland Browns are long overdue for a winning season that matches their financial investment.
As for Manziel, nothing has changed as far as his Texas A&M fans are concerned, as they want him to succeed, in epic proportions, for the Browns. After all, how many thousands of “2” t-shirts were sold by A&M and the Cleveland Browns organizations? They may have been in a drawer, dormant for a while, but many are hoping to dust them off and put them back on. That’s the thing about Texas Aggies. They always have hope, and that applies to Johnny Manziel as well, for only the best for his future career.