Troubled quarterback Johnny Manziel is hopeful an NFL comeback could soon be in the works after he was cut by the Cleveland Browns last March and sat out the entire 2016 season, he told the Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota Saturday.
“It’s hard sitting here going through OTA time and going through summer time and then getting ready to go through fall camp and not being a part of it,” Manziel told Machota. “But at the same time, I’m really optimistic and hopeful that I’ll get another chance. That’s really what I’m holding out for every day.”
The Browns selected the former Texas A&M star 22nd overall in 2014, but cut ties with Manziel after two tumultuous years with the team — including frequent partying, a stint in rehab and a domestic violence charge brought on against him by his former girlfriend Colleen Crowley.
Manziel made headlines last year after he was spotted across the country partying — including one instance in Las Vegas where Manziel appeared to look shockingly thin — despite insisting he was preparing a return to the NFL.
In February of last year, Manziel’s own father told the Dallas Morning News he believed if his son continued down this troubled path he may not live to see his next birthday.
Manziel told Machota he has taken ownership of his mistakes and is hoping to move past his previous off-field issues.
“I know the situation that I put myself in. I know the year I took off and obviously the mistakes that I made,” Manziel told Machota. “Right now, I’m hopeful. I’m really hopeful. I think that I made some progress in that regard. But we’ll see. Whenever I get a call, I’ll do whatever I can to make the most of it.”
Manziel reportedly is taking his comeback attempt more seriously now, as he recently re-hired his former agent Erik Burkhardt in March to help the polarizing quarterback in his quest to play football again, according to an NFL.com report. Burkhardt previously dropped Manziel as a client in February of last year.
Manziel was also spotted working out with Giants’ wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. earlier this offseason.
Manziel, who last played in an NFL game on Dec. 27, 2015, told the Dallas Morning News he misses football “a ton” and took his first stint in the NFL for granted.
“I think the thing I realized over the past year and the thing I realized from being away from it is really how much you miss it,” Manziel said. “That’s all I’ve known for so long. It’s what I love to do.”
If the NFL doesn’t work out, Manziel could always take his talents up North and play in the Canadian Football League to jump start his career. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats currently own Manziel’s rights.
Manziel could ironically end up facing competition from other former NFL quarterbacks, as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats also have the rights to Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III.