Johnny Manziel says he’s trying hard to focus on what he can control – his physical and mental health – and “blocking off” what he can’t: namely his future in the NFL.
Manziel spoke to the media after working out at the Texas A&M pro day on Tuesday and addressed his attempt to get back into pro football. Manziel captured the 2012 Heisman Trophy as U.S. college football’s top player before being selected in the first round, No. 22 overall, in the 2014 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns but has been out of the game since March 2016.
“I can’t do anything, I can’t stress about it, all I can do is make sure I’m where I need to be – where I’m at mentally, where I’m at physically. And when I get a chance to go to The Spring League, being there doing the film stuff, getting back into the really, really, real football stuff, it’s not just coming out and throwing and working out,” he said.
“That’s great, that’s part of it, that’s step one, but then there’s the film, there’s the coverage, there’s everything else that comes with being in the building. That’s what The Spring League gives me a little bit of: a practice setting, what’s it like when you have five O-linemen and a tight end connected and you’re doing run plays and carrying out your fakes and throwing with guys getting covered.”
Manziel said if he can’t find an NFL opportunity, he will play in the CFL this season. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats own Manziel’s CFL rights but have been unable to sign the 25-year-old quarterback.
“All I can do is block it off and if something pops up, it pops up. And if not and I don’t get the opportunity to go back I’m going to go play in the CFL and things are going to be fine. One way or another, one day down the line, I’ll get back to exactly where I want to be because I’m not going to stop until I do.”
Manziel doesn’t have a set date for making a decision about his future.
“I haven’t given it a timeline yet. It’s been focused to get to the first day of practice and get to The Spring League,” he said. “I’m not putting a timetable on it just yet, I think we’ll feel it out a little bit as it goes after The Spring League and see. The [NFL] quarterback market itself has to play itself out, there’s still a bunch of guys that are unsigned.”
Manziel, who recently acknowledged that he was dealing with mental health and addiction issues, continues to make progress on that front.
“I can’t do what I want to do football-wise if I don’t do what I need to do mental health-wise. If I’m not going to see a psychiatrist and a psychologist at least a couple times a week, if I’m not going and taking my medicine every day that I need to take, I’m not the same person and I see it. First things first I can’t be me without doing the necessary steps that I need to do to keep my head right and that’s just a fact,” Manziel said.
“It took me a while to really overcome that and get where I felt like I was comfortable with it, but when I did I started seeing an improvement in all aspects of my life. And the people that I have around me from my wife to my dad to my sister to all the people that I have here with me, my agent, my advisor, everybody, I have a good team around me and I’ve cut off a lot of the leaches that have been around me in my life. And it was really needed and really necessary.”
Manziel feels like he’s making progress but acknowledges he has a ways to go to convince the pro football community he’s really a changed man.
“I feel like I’m different, I feel like I’m doing really well. I feel like from a mental standpoint, I’ve figured out what benefits me the most and what helps me, but I can sit here until I’m blue in the face until I get a chance to really go out and prove it and somebody gives me an opportunity to do it, it’s just all talk. And that’s just the facts of the matter,” Manziel said.
“I feel like I’m better, I can sit here and say that all day, but until I really get the opportunity and go in and show it day in and day out and keep this consistent run of good behavior of good health going, then it’s all for not if I don’t, but I’m confident that I will. I’m preaching to myself consistency, consistency every day.”