There aren’t many people in the history of sports who enjoyed a more meteoric rise followed by an equally huge fall as Johnny Manziel. From high school stardom to college superstardom to flopping at the professional football level to significant off the field issues, “Johnny Football” has experienced it all.
Born in Texas in 1993 to Paul and Michelle Manziel, Johnathan Paul Manziel played nearly all sports at a young age. But when he attended Tivy High School and began to focus on football and baseball, his greatness began to show.
Manziel actually began his high school career as a receiver. But as a sophomore he switched over to quarterback and really showed off his talents.
From 2008 to 2010, Manziel completed 62.9-percent of his passes for 7,500 yards and 75 touchdowns with only 15 interceptions. He won Mr. Texas Football in 2010 along with countless other accolades, all the while picking up recruiting offers from the likes of Baylor, Iowa State, Oregon, Stanford and – most obviously – Texas A&M.
Was Johnny Manziel always planning to play for Texas A&M?
Manziel grew up a Texas Longhorns fan but never got a scholarship offer from Mack Brown. There were rumors that Brown wanted Manziel as a defender, but those have been flatly denied.
After initially committing to Oregon, Manziel changed his mind and decided to stay close to home with Texas A&M. From there, he would become a national sensation.
At the 2010 NUC All World Game, Manziel rushed for 100 yards while throwing for 200 – a sign of things to come.
After redshirting in 2011, Manziel was named the starter for the 2012 season by first-year head coach Kevin Sumlin. Manziel justified Sumlin’s confidence with a historic season of Aggies football.
In 2012, Manziel completed 68-percent of his passes for 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns with only nine interceptions. He added another 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground as the Aggies went 11-2, culminating in a Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma.
For his efforts, Manziel was awarded the Heisman Trophy – making him the first redshirt freshman to win the award. He was on top of the world.
When did the controversies with Johnny Manziel start?
Shortly after the 2012 season, reports emerged that Manziel signed autographs for money in January 2013. He agreed to a suspension of half a game in Texas A&M’s season opener that season.
He went on to have another successful season – albeit less prolific – in 2013, finishing fifth in Heisman Trophy voting while improving as a passer.
The autograph incident was a big deal then and seems benign now. But in retrospect, it was the first of many times that Manziel’s poor judgement would cost him.
What happened to Manziel’s NFL career?
In a controversial move, the Cleveland Browns traded up to draft Manziel No. 22 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. Manziel was a polarizing NFL prospect, with many people believing that his size would not translate well to the NFL. But head coach Mike Pettine was convinced by Manziel’s drive to prove his doubters wrong and pulled the trigger on the trade.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for Manziel’s immaturity to take center-stage. He was fined $12,000 for flipping the bird in a preseason game.
Things didn’t get much better in the regular season, as injuries and poor play kept him off the field. He started just two games for the Browns, who wound up going 7-9. Manziel went 0-2 as a starter, completing 18 of 35 passes for 175 yards and two interceptions that year.
Manziel did not earn the starting job the following year, and played sparingly amid what would be a 3-13 season. He went 2-4 as a starter that year, but was demoted to third-string when video of Manziel partying in Texas was made public.
Injuries and inconsistency off the field continued to hamper him though. After the Browns fired Pettine and the rest of the staff that had brought him to Cleveland, Manziel had no connections to the team to save him when 2016 rolled around.
What ended his time in the NFL?
The straw that broke the camel’s back came in February 2016. A domestic violence incident involving Manziel forced the team to cut him at the start of the 2016 offseason.
Just over a year later he signed with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He only lasted a few weeks on the roster before being traded to the Montreal Alouettes, where he started a handful of games.
But Manziel just couldn’t stay out of trouble, and was released by the CFL as a whole in early 2019.
He picked up a role with the Memphis Express in the short-lived Alliance of American Football (AAF). But a concussion in his second game preceded the league shutting down just a few days later.
What is Manziel’s net worth?
Celebrity Net Worth puts Manziel’s current wealth at around $6 million. That’s a far cry from the $7 million he reportedly earned in his rookie year alone, let alone the endorsements he was projected to get.
He landed an endorsement deal with Nike shortly after going to the Browns. But that relationship was terminated in 2016 – along with just about everything else – following his off-the-field controversies.
Who is Johnny Manziel’s wife?
Manziel got engaged to Bre Tiesi in 2017, and the two were married in 2018.
Sadly, the relationship soon hit the rocks. The two separated a year later and they formally filed for divorce in December 2019.
By all accounts, things between Johnny and Bre have only gotten rockier in 2020.
What is Manziel up to now?
Manziel keeps a relatively low-profile these days – especially following the divorce announcement. He’s pretty active on social media though, especially Twitter where he has more than two million followers..
But he isn’t exactly hearing ESPN, FOX or CBS break down his door to try and give him analysts’ work.
The last time we saw the former Texas A&M star on national television was at the 2019 Heisman Trophy presentation. He stood on stage with the other Heisman Trophy winners as LSU’s Joe Burrow was awarded the trophy he’d won just seven years earlier.
Is Manziel officially retired? What about the XFL?
It certainly looks like he’s done for good. In a TMZ interview in September following The Rock’s purchase of the XFL, Manziel all but said that he’s retired, saying that the sport is “a little bit behind me” and “not at the forefront of my mind.”
“I think football is a little bit behind me…” Manziel said. “Football for me is not at the forefront of my mind.”
But Manziel kept the door open just a tiny bit. He praised The Rock for his efforts in bringing the XFL back, and suggested that he might reevaluate when the league is ready to start.
“You never say never, I’m still an athletic guy… but at the end of the day, let’s see where the rest of life takes me and we’ll go from there,” Manziel said.
The Johnny Manziel story may not be the one that gets a Hollywood movie made about it. But if nothing else, it’s a cautionary tale that any college player feeling on top of the world can look to and feel humbled by.