Johnny Manziel is living in Scottsdale, Arizona, and playing golf now. He has conceded his football days likely are behind him.
Manziel, 27, is not retired, but it isn’t like his phone is ringing off the hook after short stints in the NFL, CFL and AAF.
“In the past, probably, is the way I’d characterize it,” Manziel told Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalenche-Journal. “I’ve finally got to a point where I’m trying to achieve happiness in life, not happiness on the football field.
“I know a lot of people probably want me to come back and play and give it another chance, but I don’t know, as far as being a person and figuring out life as a young adult — trying to make it and figure it out — if I’ve ever been in a better place than I’m in right now. I can honestly say I’m happy and I’m doing the right things to try and put a smile on my face every day, and that means more to me than going out and grinding on a football field.”
Manziel was one of the best players in college football history, almost everyone would agree outside of some “blue-ribbon panel.” (He also had one of the best nicknames.)
Manziel won the 2012 Heisman Trophy while at Texas A&M, and the Browns used the 22nd overall choice on him two years later. He played 14 NFL games with eight starts, going 2-6 with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.
“During that time when I got drafted, I didn’t put in the time that I needed to be a great player and I don’t think my heart was in it,” Manziel said. “And I think when I went back to Canada, it was the same way. I truly believed and truly thought it was what I wanted to do, and my heart wasn’t in it, and it worked out the way it did.”
Manziel had fun playing. He didn’t have fun watching film or lifting weights or sitting in meetings or studying his Microsoft surface. It didn’t matter in college football. It did in pro football.
“I had a great time,” Manziel said. “Anytime I ever stepped between the lines, I had an amazing time. I gave it everything I had.
“I think it’s just, the work you put in when you have the free hours and when you do things on your own, that matches up accordingly with what happens on the field. And when you get to thinking that you’re too good or you’re better than the game, it’ll humble you. And that’s what happened. I got humbled. Thank God I did get a chance to be humbled, because when you think you’re at the top of the world, it’s a dangerous place.”
Manziel said he is playing golf six days a week, lowering his handicap to a 2. He remains close to his offensive coordinator from his Heisman season, Kliff Kingsbury, and the two again live in the same area code.
“People can call me whatever they want,” he says without animosity, “but at the end of the day, I’m proud of what I did. I’m proud of what I accomplished. I bettered myself. I bettered my family’s life. I got a chance to play amazing college football, and it didn’t work out in the NFL and that’s OK.”