Johnny Manziel is making his mental health a priority as he continues a comeback he hopes eventually leads back to the NFL. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner and 2014 first-round pick of the Browns, who hasn’t played since he was released after the 2015 season due to poor performance and numerous off-field incidents, opened up about his downfall and said he’s taking medication for bipolar disorder during an interview that aired Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“Going back throughout the last couple years of my life, I was self-medicating with alcohol,” the 25-year-old Manziel told T.J. Holmes. “That’s what I thought was making me happy and helping me get out of that depression to a point where I felt like I had some sense of happiness. But at the end of the day, you’re left staring at the ceiling by yourself and you’re back in that depression, back in that hole, that dark hole of sitting in a room by yourself, being super depressed, thinking about all the mistakes you’ve made in your life. Where did that get me? Where did that get me except out of the NFL? Where did that get me? Disgraced.”
Manziel started eight games over two hard-partying seasons with the Browns before he was released in March 2016. A month later, he was charged with misdemeanor assault over an incident involving his former girlfriend, but the charge was dismissed last November after Manziel took an anger management course, attended a domestic violence victim impact panel and checked into a court-approved rehab facility. Manziel told Holmes that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder last summer.
“At the end of the day I can’t help that my wires are a little bit differently crossed than yours,” Manziel said. “I can’t help my mental makeup of the way that I was created. But I know if I stay on these meds and I continue to do what I am doing right now … I think my dad, I think my mom, I think [Manziel’s fiance Bre Tiesi], would all agree that they’ve seen a drastic change.”
Manziel, who claims he’s sober now, said he let success go to his head after he became the first freshman in history to win the Heisman Trophy at Texas A&M.
“I had a sense of entitlement about what I had accomplished at the age that I had accomplished it, and I got so ingrained in only caring about what Johnny wanted,” Manziel said. “… Even when I thought I was doing what I wanted, I was miserable.”
Manziel was offered a contract by the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats last month, and while he’s left open the possibility of playing north of the border, Manziel told Holmes that his end goal is “100 percent” a return to the NFL.
“I’m coming back from a huge downfall to try and make, I don’t know what kind of comeback it will be, but I know that I want to get back on a football field and do what brought me so much joy in my life and it makes me happy doing as my job,” Manziel said.
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