March 11, 2016 - Aaron Wilson
Browns cut Johnny Manziel
Once celebrated to no longer being tolerated, Johnny Manziel was officially cut by the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday at the launch of the new league year.
Manziel's future employment prospects will be a thorny field for him to navigate. NFL teams will understandably be wary about signing him and giving him a chance to resurrect his career.
Manziel is a small, mobile dual-threat quarterback who's flashed potential on the field. Off the field, Manziel is a disaster. He has multiple known substance abuse issues that prompted him to spend two months in an inpatient treatment facility last year. He remains under investigation for an alleged domestic violence incident in Dallas involving his former girlfriend Colleen Crowley, a Houston native, model and Texas Christian student. Manziel allegedly ruptured her left eardrum, the second time he's been alleged to have hit Crowley. The case is being presented to a grand jury for potential charges.
Meanwhile, the NFL is investigating Manziel under its personal-conduct policy. So, a suspension could be in the offing.
Manziel's sobriety and mental health are in serious question. He threatened to kill Crowley and himself, according to her affidavit to law enforcement authorities. And his father, Paul, has expressed frustration that Manziel refuses to go back to a rehab facility. Manziel’s rocky two-year tenure with the Browns only lasted this long because the Browns didn't want to cut him earlier due to salary-cap implications. Manziel, who signed a four-year, $8.254 million rookie contract in 2014 after being drafted with the 22nd pick of the first round, is unlikely to be claimed off waivers. As much as Manziel has embarrassed the Browns off the field, including rolling a $20 bill in Las Vegas and chugging champagne atop a swan float at an Austin nightclub and skipping or being late for team activities, his on-field performance hasn’t been sterling. He’s gone 2-6 as a starter in two NFL seasons, passing for 1,675 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions for a pedestrian 74.4 passer rating. His NFL future is uncertain as most teams will be hesitant to bring this kind of baggage into their locker room. Once known as Johnny Football in College Station, Manziel has been Johnny Drama in the NFL.
Griffin was cut by Washington after a rough couple of seasons in Washington after being named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Griffin clashed with Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan about his role in the offense. He spent this past year backing up Kirk Cousins. Although the Texans aren't expected to be a landing spot for the former Heisman Trophy winner, he could draw interest from the Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets.
Whether Manziel plays in the NFL again, though, is very much in doubt because of his pattern of misconduct.
Even while being investigated by Dallas police, Manziel continues his hard-partying ways with plenty of evidence on social media from Miami to Las Vegas that he hasn't changed. The logical conclusion for any rational NFL franchise to reach is that Manziel isn't a safe bet to invest in for a second act of a mercurial career.
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Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle