What happened to Johnny Manziel? Ex-Cleveland Browns player's tumultuous career

Lane Dias November 26, 2020
What happened to Johnny Manziel? Ex-Cleveland Browns player's tumultuous career
Photo by Wesley Hitt/AAF/Getty Images

Many NFL fans were excited at the prospect of watching quarterback Johnny Manziel in action when he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2014. But six years on, what happened to Johnny Manziel? His career seems to have ended abruptly, due to reasons many fans still don’t know much about.

What happened to Johnny Manziel?

The 27-year-old Texan native was tipped to be one of the future stars of the NFL having impressed in college football for Texas A&M University.

Many believed he would have a lengthy career and star for the Browns, who at the time had gone 12 years without a play-off appearance.

However, Manziel’s NFL career was short-lived. He managed just 15 games in a two-year spell and was released by the franchise in March 2016.

Photo by Joe Robbins/AAF/Getty Images

Manziel was reportedly dropped because of behaviour-related incidents including excessive partying, according to the Guardian. His antics had “undermined” the Browns’ reputation, according to the NFL website, and the side cut ties with the player.

Cleveland Browns executive vice-president of football operations Sashi Brown released a statement regarding Manziel’s release. 

He said: “We’ve been clear about expectations for our players on and off the field. Johnny’s continual involvement in incidents that run counter to those expectations undermines the hard work of his teammates and the reputation of our organisation.”

Manziel appeared on Tuesday’s episode of the YNK Podcast, as reported by Yahoo Sports, and was asked whether he felt he lost his teammates as his career started trending down.

He replied: “Looking back on it now I would say I absolutely, 100 per cent lost their respect.

“I would say we wasted a draft pick to go get this guy. And that’s my only thing in life I haven’t been able to look back and fully have closure on.”

Following his release from Cleveland, the quarterback endured a one-year hiatus from the country’s top-tier.

In his time out, he played in the Spring League before participating in his alma mater’s pro day – involved in drills with prospective NFL and Canadian Football League (CFL) players.

Manziel’s Canadian career

Despite intentions to return to the NFL, Manziel went on to ply his trade in the CFL, eventually representing Montreal Alouettes in July 2018.

Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

His stint in Canada failed to pay dividends, however. Manziel initially signed for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats but was an unused back-up quarterback in their first six weeks.

He was eventually traded to Montreal Alouettes, where he made eight appearances before being cut, having reportedly missed several scheduled board meetings.

Return to America

Manziel returned to the US, representing American Alliance Of Football franchise Memphis Express in March 2019.

He featured twice, with his second appearance ending prematurely due to concussion protocol. The league ultimately ended its season three days later.

There was speculation linking Manziel with the XFL, another professional American Football league.

Photo by Wesley Hitt/AAF/Getty Images

However, in an interview with TMZ in September this year, the 27-year-old announced his retirement from professional American Football.

Career highlights

Manziel was the 22nd overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He was the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, awarded to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s best player. In doing so, he became the first freshman to win the accolade.

While at the Browns, he achieved a franchise record for the most rushing-yards (108) completed by a quarterback in a single game.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
BA (Hons) First Class degree in Sports Journalism at the University of East London. Sports fan, avid traveller, foodie and lover of films and tv.