Johnny Manziel. Remember him? Despite not playing in the NFL since 2015 because of poor performance and a string of personal problems, the 24-year-old ex-Cleveland Browns quarterback is hoping that a team might give him another shot.
“Right now, I’m hopeful. I’m really hopeful,” Manziel said during a fantasy football convention in Dallas, according to the Dallas Morning News. “But we’ll see. Whenever I get a call, I’ll do whatever I can to make the most of it.”
And according to Manziel, his phone is already ringing. He noted he has had “a couple conversations with some teams.” The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner did not say which ones.
“[Football’s] all I’ve known for so long,” Manziel added. “It’s what I love to do. It’s hard. It’s hard sitting here going through OTA time and going through summer time and then getting ready to go through fall camp and not being a part of it. But at the same time, I’m really optimistic and hopeful that I’ll get another chance. That’s really what I’m holding out for every day.”
That Manziel’s still interested in making a comeback isn’t all that surprising. In May, stories floated around alleging that New York Giants star Odell Beckham missed his OTAs to train with Manziel. Beckham, however, appeared to dispel the rumor, cryptically noting on Twitter around that time, “If they don’t have a story these days they’ll make one.”
Manziel, meanwhile, did little to quash the claim. A longtime acquaintance of Beckham’s, he posted a photo of himself on Instagram hanging out with the wide receiver that day.
Who trained with whom in May, however, isn’t likely to matter when it to comes to Manziel possibly getting another shot in the NFL. Teams are more likely to simply look at his skills.
After being selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft by the Browns, Manziel started in eight games over the course of two seasons with the team, racking up a record of 2-6. He completed only 57 percent of his passes for 1,675 yards and seven touchdowns. He also threw seven interceptions.
Off the field, Manziel found himself having trouble as well for a variety of reasons. Just in 2015, he made headlines for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend in a car while driving, allegedly abusing drugs and alcohol, and failing to show up to practice.
Ahead of the 2016 season, meanwhile, Manziel, who had been released already by the Browns, was suspended four games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. He did not play at all that season.
Manziel, who claims he has cleaned up his act this year, acknowledged his past and appeared to take responsibility for his actions.
“I know the situation that I put myself in,” Manziel said. “I know the year I took off and obviously the mistakes that I made.”
He added, “I think that I made some progress in that regard.”