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Johnny Manziel suspended four games for violating NFL substance-abuse policy

Johnny Manziel won’t be playing the NFL anytime soon. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund, File)
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Johnny Manziel isn’t currently on an NFL roster and won’t likely be on one anytime soon, but that didn’t stop the league from suspending him for the first four games of the 2016 season over a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy, according to a TMZ report that was later confirmed by the NFL.

According to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports, the suspension has been a long time coming.

Manziel was last spotted vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and he told TMZ on Wednesday that he wasn’t drinking or doing drugs and planned to get completely sober starting Friday. But photographs like the following seemed to suggest that at least part of his pledge was not true:

But a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that Manziel was being sincere in his pledge to get healthy.

Johnny Manziel reportedly promises to get sober … starting Friday

“I do believe he’s serious,” Fowler’s source said. “He’s talked for a while about knuckling down, getting ready and working out. It’s more about health and having options and feeling good. If that works out for this season, great. But if not, that’s okay too.”

According to TMZ, Manziel’s suspension will not roll over to the 2017 season, which seems a more likely target for him should he indeed decide to kick-start his NFL career, which was put on seemingly indefinite hiatus after the Cleveland Browns cut him in March. Despite his release, the Browns were on the hook for his 2016 salary and a portion of his 2017 salary — around $2.2 million total — but they might be able to void those payments because of the conduct clauses contained in Manziel’s salary, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reports.

Inquiries to both the NFL and Manziel’s spokeswoman have yet to be returned.

Last week, Manziel’s father told ESPN that he regarded his son as “a druggie” and hoped he would be sent to jail. It was the second time Paul Manziel publicly asked his son to get help; the first was in February, when he worried that Manziel might not make it to his next birthday. Johnny Manziel’s former attorney, Bob Hinton, also questioned his client’s sobriety in text messages accidentally sent to an Associated Press reporter. Hinton has since stopped representing Manziel in his misdemeanor domestic assault case in Texas.

“Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle,” Hinton wrote in the texts, later saying the messages were intended for another attorney.

Johnny Manziel responds to father’s ‘druggie’ comments by partying in Cabo

Manziel spent about 10 weeks in a Pennsylvania rehabilitation facility that deals with drug and alcohol addiction last year.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told USA Today that Manziel’s suspension is unrelated to the domestic violence charge, which stems from an altercation Manziel had with his former girlfriend earlier this year. The league still is investigating that incident, and Manziel could face further sanction.

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