Column: Couch’s Corner

Johnny Manziel is the biggest waste of talent football has ever seen. The Canadian Football League (CFL) should have known better than to allow him to play in Canada. 

The culture that we live in is one that has grown accustomed to people modifying their behavior instead of changing their heart. 

The sad story began at Tivy High School near San Antonio, Texas. Manziel was obviously athletic from the beginning of his high school career in 2007 when he was a wide receiver. Tivy slowly transitioned Manziel to be its full-time quarterback, and following the talented pivot’s senior season, he had recorded more than 5,200 yards of total offense and 77 total touchdowns during his senior year of high school. 

The story gets better before becoming significantly worse. 

In 2012, Manziel reigned as king of the sporting world. The redshirt freshman quarterback earned numerous awards, including First-Team All-SEC, Consensus All-American, SEC Offensive Player of the Year, Sporting News Player of the Year, Associated Press Player of the Year, the Manning Award, the Davey O’Brien Award and the highly-coveted Heisman Trophy.

Following a freshman season unlike any the sporting circle had ever witnessed, the 2013 offseason raised some concerns for Texas A&M. Manziel was accused of signing autographs for money, which resulted in his suspension for the first half of the 2013 season opener.

After another Heisman-caliber season in 2013, Manziel elected to enter the NFL draft and was selected in the first round by the Cleveland Browns. 

Manziel followed his initial apology by wreaking havoc for the Cleveland Browns with his constant partying and legal issues. He was released from the team in 2015. After he sought help and treatment for his issues, Manziel entered the CFL in 2018, convincing CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie that his repentance was genuine and his sincerity was true. 

Unfortunately, neither would prove to be true. The period of time in which many Manziel followers lost interest in keeping tabs on the troubled athlete was when he was negotiating with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for a potential contract.

For me, red flags began popping up everywhere. Manziel was reportedly demanding close to league-high salary requests from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Manziel portrayed through his actions he was doing the CFL a favor by traveling up to the great white north (Canada) to play football. Manziel probably expected for the CFL to be comprised of NFL dropouts and pro football wannabes. But the CFL showed the former Cleveland Browns quarterback that the league boasts elite talent.

Manziel was banned from the CFL because he did not follow the procedures he had agreed on with Ambrosie. Some sports fans believed Manziel broke his covenant purposely so he would be available to sign a deal with the United States newest football league (the now defunct Alliance American Football league). 

While at Texas A&M, Manziel caused frustration for his coaching staff. When he played with Cleveland, Manziel further embarrassed an organization in turmoil. And when he resided in Canada, Manziel broke the heart of a struggling organization that sold out to welcome him into the organization long term.

His repentance proved to be a matter of convenience not real. Manziel has a significant character flaw that has had a ripple effect that is far reaching — the CFL should have seen it coming. Hopefully, the NFL will be wise enough to see through his promises of reform.

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