Dear Mr. Manziel,
I hope that this letter finds you well. As a fan of your accomplishments solely on the football field , I have closely chronicled your career since you enrolled at Oregon University in 2010. While ultimately you teased us all with the idea of playing in Chip Kelly’s Spread Offensive system, you took the world by storm when you decided to stay home and play at College Station. With your acrobatic plays and willy ability to win games in the most unconventional ways, you captured the attention of the entire sporting universe. You had one of the best nicknames in college sporting history during your tenure at Texas A&M with the game to back it all up. You were the reincarnation of Fran Tarkenton himself or better yet, Harry Houdini dressed up in Adidas high tops. You sir became a living legend after you became the first sophomore in NCAA history to win the Heisman in 2012. Fame, Fortune, and the NFL was yours for the taking. The world was yours and it rested in the palm of your hand. So please can you enlighten us all where it all fell apart?
Like many before you who played the quarterback position in college, the transition to the NFL level proved to be difficult. We all marveled and relished on which franchise would be lucky enough to snag you in the upcoming draft.We all thought you were a game changer whose talents could be plugged into whatever offensive system. Despite your lack of height, we became intoxicated with your ability to sling the ball and your ability to push the ball downfield. Draft gurus everywhere salivated over your one of kind padded pro-day which proved to the NFL universe, you were dressed to impress. Some whispered that you may follow in Ryan Leaf’s footsteps, profiling a heavy drinking addiction paralleled with a narcissistic desire of self promotion. Once again with your charm and persuasive attitude, you told the media during the NFL Combine that “there was a time and place for everything in you life”. Furthermore you claimed that the life you once lived was retired and you were ready to move on to the next stage in your life. You fooled us all thinking that you had matured to be the face of an NFL franchise. As a fan I fell for it. As a young journalist I fell for it. But those in the NFL community didn’t. They saw through your transparent lies. Everyone except one. I hope Jimmy Haslam has learned from his mistakes.
See I want to believe that the Drake Curse in sports does not apply to you. I want to believe that Curse of Cleveland derailed your NFL career. Granted, most quarterbacks taken with the 22nd overall pick by the Browns don’t normally pan out. Just ask Brady Quinn. I don’t want to pretend that those you surrounded yourself with, paired with an obscene amount of money, enabled your consistent behavior that continues to make headlines today. Did you fall in Ryan Leaf’s footsteps? I think you have fallen further than that.You quickly turned from a college poster boy to punchline in the pros.
Your personal life choices led to your release from the Cleveland Browns after your well documented domestic violence suit. When Drew Rosenhaus one of the most respected agents in the NFL world dropped you from his representation, we knew there was problem. Remember this was a man who stuck by the side of Terrell Owens through the entirety of his career. Rosenhaus chose to terminate your contract because he worried about your personal life choices. He’s never done this before in his entire career. When Nike chose to release you from your contract in mid April, we knew things were going down hill. When you refused to enter rehab but still claimed you were focusing on playing football in 2016, we knew your career was done. We all knew about the drinking, but when you invited the likes of TMZ Sports to profile your everyday choices we knew this wasn’t a public relations problem. Your drinking problem was a life problem. Instead of choosing professional help, you have chosen to self medicate your stress.
Now with all that being said, I am still rooting for you Johnny. Like Drake, I will still think five years from now, that you’re the man still. But what I and countless of your fans would hope you would do is make a concentrated effort at getting your life back together before it’s too late. Embrace the facts that your fall from grace came from an unprecedented pace. While your ego and mental state soared Mile High, your performance on and off the field plummeted due to self implosion. Your father is right, you are a druggie. But that doesn’t narrate who you are as a person. That can still be salvaged. But I too agree with your father that we doubt you will see your 24th birthday if you continue this lifestyle. Seek help Johnny before it’s simply too late.