Johnny Manziel says he’s being treated for bipolar disorder

Johnny Manziel says he’s taking medication to deal with bipolar disorder and dealing with his mental issues are his top priority.

Manziel gave an interview to ABC’s Good Morning America which was broadcast on Monday morning. In it, Manziel says he was diagnosed as bipolar sometime last spring during a visit to an unspecified California facility.

People with bipolar disorder experience episodes of depression and mania which can significantly impact their behaviour.

“At the end of the day, I can’t help that my wires are a little bit different and crossed than yours. I can’t help my mental make up of the way that I was created. But I know that if I stay on these meds and I continue to do what I’m doing right now, I think my Dad, I think my Mom, I think Bre would all agree that they’ve seen a drastic change,” Manziel said. “Now, the question that you asked was ‘is that sustainable and will that be the case moving forward?’ I would like to sit here and say ‘yes’ and I have a lot of confidence that would be the case. But at the end of the day, it’s to be seen. I’m still moving forward, I’m still doing the little things that I have to do on a daily basis to try and keep [his head] right over anything else. The main thing to me is not physical health, it’s mental.”

Manziel’s party lifestyle was well-documented and it ultimately led to his release from the Cleveland Browns, who drafted him in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft after a hugely successful run at Texas A&M which included a Heisman Trophy in his rookie season.

“I had a sense of entitlement about what I’d accomplished at the age I’d accomplished it and I got so ingrained in caring about what Johnny wanted. Even when I was doing what I wanted, I was miserable,” Manziel said. “I was self-medicating with alcohol. That’s what I thought was making me happy, helping me get out that desperation to the point of where I felt that I had some sense of happiness. But at the end of the day, when you wake up the next day after a night like that, or after going on a trip like that, and you wake up the next day and that’s all gone and that liquid courage and that sense of euphoria that’s over you is all gone and you’re left staring at the ceiling by yourself and you’re back in that depression and 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. What did that get me? What did that get me except out of the NFL? Where did that get me, disgraced?”

Manziel said he is not currently drinking.

“I went a solid five months until I really fell back into a depression where I didn’t drink, I didn’t do anything but still, I was going to therapy,” he said. “The difference that I know this year is that I started taking a look at my mental health a little bit and making it a priority in my life to where I’m taking medication for bipolar and I’m working to try and make sure that I don’t fall back into any type of depression because I know where that leads me and I know how slippery a slope that is for me.”

Manziel said one of the turning points came when he saw what his drinking was doing to his family, including his mom.

“You don’t understand when people come up to us like ‘what the hell is your son doing’ And I didn’t really feel that until my mom said that. She just broke down, she was crying and I saw the trickle-down effects of what I was doing in my daily life that were meaningless and pointless and selfish,” he said. “Watching others guys doing what I want to be doing and I’m sitting on the couch being a loser.”

Manziel did not directly address coming to the CFL – the Hamilton Tiger-Cats own his neg list rights – and said that getting back to the NFL is the ultimate goal.

“I’m coming back from a huge downfall to try and make – I don’t know what kind of comeback it will be,” he said. “But I know that I want to get back on the football field and do what brought me so much joy in my life and makes me happy doing as my job.”

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1549 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

22 Comments on Johnny Manziel says he’s being treated for bipolar disorder

  1. Drew thank you. I do know when to acknowledge that your report was the abc interview. People who haven’t seen the interview at least get your news.

  2. Just to start on a positive note. It took a lot of guts to admit those things. As for the cats I think they don’t really need a QB and should find a team who wants him. Manziel would be on a team already if not for Randy stepping in. I think Ambrosie has to step in again and facilitate a transfer of Manziel’s rights to a team that needs him rather than allow the Cats to just let him sit on the Negative list.

  3. Mental wellness is more than simply “admitting to it”. There needs to be a great deal of acceptance and support from those around you. Wherever he goes, and playing football may not immediately be the best choice, he will need to be well looked after while he comes to grips with his new world. It’s more than just being sober. It’s about redeveloping a solid but new foundation for daily life. It’s not about getting back to the NFL, it’s about getting back to being a person. Three good cities for this in the CFL could be Winnipeg, Edmonton and perhaps Ottawa. They might

    • Good points, Glenn. Perhaps he should take another year away from football to ensure that his mental health is where it should be?

  4. “my goal is to get back to the NFL” … mention of the Ti-Cats, zero mention of the CFL, zero mention of Canada = zero respect for our league and country

    THIS (Good Morning America interview) is why he hasn’t signed with Hamilton….he’s hoping this PR stunt, staged just after the Super Bowl, will entice an NFL team to take him on

    if Manziel is at a buffet, the CFL is the nasty little unidentifiable stew in the metal canister on the end, that’s been sitting there for two days and that no one will eat–unless they were starving

    compare Manziel with Josh Freeman, new QB of the Alouettes, who has started in SIXTY NFL games….Freeman says all the right things….he loves the city of Montreal, he’s hung out there in the off-season, is excited to learn about Canada and the 3 down game

    let Manziel rot on the neg list, Hamilton….let him embrace the NFL…where he hasn’t played in years and where he sucked when he was there

    arrogant, entitled brat

    • Chris in Alberta, would you get on the case of The Canadian born kid who is the starting QB for Ohio U and recently won a bowl game if he said his ultimate goal was to be in the NFL?

    • FoodieFoodnerd // February 12, 2018 at 1:32 pm //

      Spot-on! Johnny Footnote is an embarrassment to American football and the USA. You folks are trying to do him a huge favor as his only shot at ever playing for pay, and taking an enormous leap of faith in trusting him to do anything right.

      And in return he gives you his usual raised middle finger, while spouting the same, “I’ve learned; I’ve changed” drivel he has during every claimed wake up call.

      You absolutely deserve better, and I wish you the best in spite of this joke or without him.

  5. Paul Smith // February 12, 2018 at 9:27 am //

    Not sure we need this distraction. Sorry Johnny.

    • agreed. Randy needs to step in and mandate a trade to a team that wants him for a late round CIS draft pick.

  6. I am not a medical person but I understand that medication for bipolar disorder (lithium) may help ease that condition but long term it extracts a serious toll on overall health and can shorten lifespans. This causes some
    people to go off the medication, so it’s a no-win situation. I would think this would make even tougher for him to get back to the NFL. His best option would be to sign with a CFL team at a discount and prove he can still play while demonstrating mental stability and athletic ability while on the medication. If he can do that he will be a poster boy and an inspiration for
    those suffering with similar illness. Good luck to him.

    • My sister in law is a pharmacist. It really depends on the person. If he has been on lithium for a year and doing well then it might work. But yes any medication does not work for everyone. He said in the piece he was diagnosed a year ago. So he has been on lithium since last February. He attended the work out in August and several Ticat people have said his accuracy and arm strength were far better than they thought. 50 out of 54 or something like that. So it may not be affecting his coordination. Montreal and Winnipeg need a QB still. Cats… do the right thing and trade to a team that needs him for a late round CIS draft pick.
      His work out videos look good too.

  7. Great comment Glenn Sinclair. Winnipeg has an opening now that Dan L. is retiring. Manziel would be a win win for any team even if just for 2 years. If 1% of his 1,800,000 Twitter people bought a $100 jersey that would $1,800,000. Many teams don’t sell out. Road attendance would be higher. CFL would be seen as sensitive to mental disorders and progressive. TV deal with ESPN up for negotiations for 2019. Would imagine his twitter and instagram people would watch. No to mention the people who just saw him on Good Morning America. You don’t need actual teams in the USA to get revenue from the USA in these digital days. Nothing ventured nothing gained. Everyone on this board is pointing out the negative but you can’t grow unless you take calculated risks. There is an upside. Randy has done his homework lets get him on a team. Randy may have to prod the Cats to move him as they clearly do NOT need another QB. His 2 years of NFL is roughly equal to Franklin’s 2 years on the bench and a fair deal for Manz with pro experience would be Franklin’s 250K plus some Jersey sale incentives.

    • Footballnut // February 12, 2018 at 10:41 am //

      I agree get him signed cfl ! Any other cfl players that command this attention? I think not . The kid had a better record than the other Cleveland qbs after him give him a fair shot and admit what he brings: a large fan base from the USA … rocket Ismail was not bad for the league and this kid is deserving of a second chance

  8. One person asked on here should we lower our standards (and welcome Manziel). No, I would say, never back up what he did. If we backed the person he was, that’s one thing, if he is in the process of change, that’s another.
    As far as lowering standards, not that its right, it isn’t. But, if you were to say read a book with the word cons in the title, you would be surprised at how many “superstars” among others had their repeated offenses, including charges, swept under the rug repeatedly so that coach could win. You may agree and find that you are already ‘lowering your standards’ unknowingly.
    There is never an excuse for domestic violence, on either side (anyone hitting anyone). period.
    If a pro football player (or anyone) were to grow past their belief that that is ever ok, would be joining many others who have learned from disgraceful, sick choices and who have gone on to be productive and counted on by many, while never hurting anyone again.
    That person I would back up.

    • Jeff May .. Manziel has no criminal convictions of an kind. All charges dropped. A video Dallas PD is sitting on from a Dallas Hotel camera shows Crowly hitting Manziel. it was a lovers quarrel nothing more. Manziel did not want a trial he would win anyway and just settled. Hamilton already lowered its standards by taking Masoli who has two actual guilty pleas in Oregon and was cut by Oregon Ducks. Type in his name in Wikepedia. Not to mention a current Riders RB who had a similar domestic charge dropped.

      • The list is I believe around 5% of nfl players, many of whom had it hidden and ultimately ignored by the league. The nfl also has very high-end detectives who check everything and talk to everyone about potential players, yet allow them in anyways. No bettering oneself needed, just better the win column!
        Here is someone who certainly appears to be changing, yet everyone is all over him. Its not if they are right or not this time, its the assumption while cheering on sometimes even much worse! Warron Moon, Cornelious Bennett etc etc etc. 1000’s! when you include college.

  9. My crystal ball for what it is worth says Mr Manziel will sell T-shirts and work out until after the second NFL pre-season game. If not picked up yet by the NFL. He will then simply sign the contract on his agents desk and show up to Hamilton. Either they make room or trade him with his 150K contract or cut him thus making him a free agent. He tried that last year but Randy shut him down.

    • Lastyear he was not the person he is this year. NFL were reluctant to take him. He had a court case decision pending. He just started his rehab. This year his story is ou and he could get a shot at NFL. Hamilton knows that. Ambrose and Austin knew his situation prior to the abc interview. I am sure some of the conditions imposed by CFL has to do with his bipolar disorder. CFL has this well in check. I am sure the NFL team would piggy back on conditions. Saying all that I would like to see him play in Canada.

  10. Interesting interview. It sounds legit. I’m ready to welcome him to the league. I’m not sure where his talks are at with the Ticats but I hope they get something done before rookie camp. He’s got a steep learning curve ahead of him and that’s going to be valuable time.

    btw, the clip in this thread wouldn’t play for me for whatever reason so I watched this:

  11. Very interesting perspective and interview on Manziel today, and the timing of this interview. If indeed he is Bipolar this is mental illness, he has a lot of gonads,admitting it in public.

    Mental illness is a very personal thing, I would hope Manziel isn’t using this as an excuse, or for some kind of pity on himself for his past?

    If in fact he has recognized his past mistakes, and has legitimately reformed and rehabilitated, yes give him a chance to play pro ball again.

    But once again he has stated numerous times, his ultimate goal is to get back into the NFL. He is an American, from an American College, more prestige, more money, security.

    The CFL would and could be just a stepping stone, IF successful up here. And a last resort, if no NFL takes a cchance on him. So as another poster predicated. Manziel will wait, see if any NFL bites, if not Hamilton will ultimately make some kind of deal.

    Don’t think Ti-Cat’s are that heartless, plus pressure from Ambrosie and the league to make a deal for the League. It sure the hell would generate some interest in the 2018 season.

    After all hearing and reading so much about Manziel this off season, just proof on what potential revenue he could and would bring to the CFL. It’s just a matter of time, to see where Johnny Football’s car does end up.

  12. Given the realities of the much lower salaries and short careers CFL fans have to stop seeing a 2 year and out stint as an insult. Lets take the kid at Ohio U, a Canadian native. Would you in all good conscious advise him to pass up an NFL contract in order to be loyal to Canada? One of these NCAA Canadian QB’s is going to make it to the NFL. If you are hammering Manziel for having the NFL as his ultimate goal then be consistent and call the kid at Ohio U a traitor if he takes an NFL offer.

  13. Kudos to Manziel for opening up. There is nothing funny about mental illness.

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