After months of sensational exploits and transgressions often fueled by alcohol, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has entered rehab.
As the Super Bowl still distracts the sports world, a spokesman for the young quarterback quietly announced on Monday Manziel’s entrance into a substance abuse program. The rehab stint started last week.
“Johnny knows there are areas in which he needs to improve in order to be a better family member, friend and teammate, and he thought the offseason was the right time to take this step,” said Brad Beckworth, a friend and adviser to the player.
“On behalf of Johnny and his family, we’re asking for privacy until he rejoins the team in Cleveland,” Beckworth continued.
It is reported that Manziel entered the program voluntarily and a Brown’s spokesman announced support for the player.
“We respect Johnny’s initiative in this decision and will fully support him throughout this process. Our players’ health and well-being will always be of the utmost importance to the Cleveland Browns,” Browns general manager Ray Farmer said.
Manziel’s rookie season was fraught with problems and excesses, behavior he carried over from his party days at college.
By June of 2014, it had gotten so bad that his behavior became the main topic of conversation whenever he was interviewed. At one point, Manziel even claimed that he wasn’t doing anything wrong and insisted that he saw no reason to change his behavior.
“I’m not going to change who I am for anybody,” Manziel said on June 27.
A month later in July, photos emerged of Manziel’s vacation days in Las Vegas that led to speculation that he was doing cocaine in a casino bathroom.
But despite his claims that he wasn’t doing anything wrong, Manziel continued to rile fans, coaches, and fellow players with his headline-grabbing behavior throughout the season and into the postseason. Late in December, Manziel even missed the opening hours of a team walk-through and treatment session, allegedly because he was partying too much, causing criticism to rise to a fever pitch.
Immediately after that incident, Manziel apologized to his teammates and bosses and promised that he was going to re-dedicate himself to his job.
“I brought this on myself,” Manziel said after being hours late to the team function. “I brought these cameras and all these people that are in this locker room right now, and I don’t think it’s fair to myself, I don’t think it’s fair to anybody in this locker room the distractions I’ve brought at points in time.”
Yet only a few days later, albeit on New Years Eve, he was again seen partying, sparking criticism all over again.
Perhaps the greatest clue that he was on the bubble came from Browns coach Mike Pettine in what he said of Manziel late in December.
“I’ve had great talks with him,” coach Pettine said. “But I do agree… and he realizes this, that at some point, the talk is cheap. To me, the actions, and he’s gotten himself to the point where his actions to me are much more important than what he says.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com