Former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel is attempting to make a comeback, starting this year in the Canadian Football League.
His road to the CFL, though, is full of twists and turns. The 25-year-old reflected on his collegiate and brief NFL career on Kevin Hart’s online show, “Cold as Balls,” on Monday, where Hart interviews someone as they are sitting in ice baths.
Hart and Manziel started talking about his time at Texas A&M, and quickly shifted into Manziel’s transition to the NFL draft — where he was selected No. 22 overall by the Cleveland Browns in 2014.
“At the time, all my boys, everyone in my corner was telling me, ‘You don’t want to go to Cleveland. F— that. F— that,’” Manziel said. “I was more optimistic about it. I looked at the players they had. I was cool with it.”
Once he got to there, though, things took a turn.
“Once I landed and went to Berea, Ohio, for the first time, I was like, ‘Can I go back to college?’ I don’t know anybody. I don’t know where I’m at. It’s cold. I don’t like it,” he said.
Manziel said he really struggled early with the Browns — especially that first day in training camp.
“I didn’t know what it took,” Manziel said. “I didn’t know how much hard work you really had to put in to like, be good. I just felt like when I went out that first day and I was kind of like, ‘Alright, I’m going to go see how this thing goes,’ and it went so bad, that just compounded into my home life. If I’m not doing good in what my job is and what I love, how can I go home and be happy about other things that are going on?
“I’m in a little bubble in Cleveland. I can’t hide like I used to in the past, so I’m finding different ways to try and hide and get out of who I am, because I don’t like what’s going on right now, I don’t like who I am right now.”
Manziel started eight games over two seasons for the Browns, completing nearly 57 percent of his passes and throwing seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. His addiction and behavior issues, though, sidelined him for two full seasons.
Now, Manziel is back and playing with the Montreal Alouettes in the CFL. In his two games so far this season, the 25-year-old went 27-of-46 for 272 yards and has thrown four interceptions. Manziel just returned from concussion protocol this week, too, and should be available again going forward.
Naturally, he has his sights set on making it back to the NFL — which Hart hilariously advocated for at the end of the show.
While he said he’s determined to do what it takes to make it back in the league, and he’s not going to quit, he knows it’s not going to be easy.
“I don’t expect people to look at my story and feel bad for me. A lot of what I did was self-inflicted,” he said. “I am at a point now where I can look back, I can reflect and realize that I was one way that was wrong. What can I do moving forward, because I can’t change how I was.
“That’s all I can do, and try to stack enough good days together and stack enough things together to get back to where I want to be.”