Johnny Manziel, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback whose transition into the NFL with the Cleveland Browns in 2014 proved more difficult than many had anticipated, has begun treatment at a rehabilitation facility to address issues concerning his lifestyle away from football. Manziel voluntarily entered rehab on Monday, according to ESPN. "Johnny knows there are areas in which he needs to improve in order to be a better family member, friend and teammate, and he thought the offseason was the right time to take this step," Brad Beckworth, an adviser, said in a statement.
Manziel, 22, just completed his first professional season and was viewed by some as a bust who had little of the dynamic impact that he had in college. His playing time was limited, though he did have several noteworthy highlights in the five games he did appear in. Manziel, who was nicknamed “Johnny Football” while at Texas A&M University, has been a magnet for controversy since before he withdrew early to enter the NFL draft. He has drawn attention off the field, including last month when he was in a nightclub and reportedly had drinks thrown at him for giving the middle finger to patrons who were rebuffed after requesting to have photos taken with him.
In May, just two weeks after being drafted and telling reporters "I just want to let these guys know that my focus is football,” Manziel flew to Las Vegas. Cleveland.com reported late last month that the Browns were “alarmed” by his partying ways, including a photo taken last summer that showed Manziel rolling up a $20 bill in a bar’s bathroom. In June, when he was asked about his apparent hedonistic lifestyle, he told USA Today, “I’m not going to change who I am for anybody.” In December, Manziel reportedly threw a big party; soon afterward, he was placed on the injured reserve list. He did not show up to get treatment for an injured hamstring, forcing the team to send security for him. In early January, after having apologized for the partying that had him “looking like a jackass,” Manziel continued his quest for fun, this time in Miami where he hung out with celebrities and friends drinking alcohol at a pool party.
Manziel's decision to enter rehab has been lauded by the Browns. "We respect Johnny's initiative in this decision and will fully support him throughout this process,” Ray Farmer, the team's general manager, said in a statement. “Our players' health and well-being will always be of the utmost importance to the Cleveland Browns.”