The Cleveland Browns officially released quarterback Johnny Manziel on Friday.
The move comes 22 months and just eight starts after the Browns spent a first-round pick on the Heisman Trophy-winner. During that player selection meeting, Manziel sported an unhappy face for the cameras as the first round progressed, believing himself worth more than the 22nd pick the Browns ultimately paid for him. But he played in just 14 games over two seasons and started eight. He threw seven touchdown passes and an equal number of interceptions, completing 147 of 258 tosses for 1,675 yards during his short career in Cleveland.
The cut occurs on the first day of the league year. The team likely made a decision to move on from Manziel months ago but waited until today because the delay helped the team with the salary cap. New head coach Hue Jackson indicated more with his mannerisms than his words that Johnny Football had attained persona non grata status with the team.
A picture of Manziel with a rolled up dollar bill in a bathroom, a late-night skirmish between his crew and a zealous fan, his skipping a medical session during a team walk through after a night of partying, and images of him downing champagne in Las Vegas all preceded a trip to rehab after his rookie season.
His conduct grew more sophomoric in his sophomore season. Police stopped Manziel in October after a motorist claimed his girlfriend attempted to escape his vehicle at a high rate of speed. Manziel admitted drinking earlier that day, but police determined him not an inebriated driver. Reports subsequently portrayed him as drunk or hungover during team sessions. In January, a police helicopter searched for Manziel in Fort Worth after his ex-girlfriend alleged he assaulted her, held her against her will, and smashed her phone.
Like former Cleveland Browns first-round picks Brady Quinn and Brandon Weeden before him, Manziel continues the franchise’s bad luck in the quarterback position. Quarterbacks Austin Davis, Connor Shaw, and Josh McCown remain on the roster. Colin Kaepernick reportedly has an interest in landing in Cleveland should the San Francisco 49ers opt to trade him.