Johnny Manziel reveals what LeBron James tried to do for him in Cleveland


When the Cleveland Browns drafted Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel with the 22nd pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, he came with high expectations.

Due to a myriad of issues, both on the field and off it, Manziel did not pan out in Cleveland. But in a recent interview with Dan Katz and PFT Commenter on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast, Manziel explained that in Cleveland, he had a very high-profile friend who tried to help him through his struggles.

That would be Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.

“The guy couldn’t have tried anymore,” Manziel said, according to The Score. “I remember whenever I was going through my NCAA scandal if you want to call it at A&M. Every day, I would get up and go to training camp and Bron would text me like every day. ‘Just keep your head up, don’t worry about anything all the outside noise.'”

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“At this point in time, I was just 20 years old, I didn’t know how to handle the national media pressure and spotlight without checking Twitter and letting it get in my head or seeing it on a website. He tried super hard to just keep me grounded and keep me focused on that. I think that was really the start of our relationship,” Manziel explained.

“Once I go to Cleveland, I felt like I never really gave Cleveland a chance,” he added. “I felt that I was negative about it in my own personal space, like off rift and never really gave it much of a chance. I think I was pissed at the world and just mad maybe about where I was drafted, what position I was drafted,” said Manziel, who played two seasons in Cleveland.

“I think I felt like a sense of entitlement and was owed to be drafted higher or go somewhere that I wanted to go when in reality I had no control over that.”

Manziel knew before just about anybody about James’ plan to return to Cleveland after four years in Miami.

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“On my way to Cleveland, I get a call in the airport actually from LeBron saying that he’s coming back to Cleveland,” said Manziel. “It was pretty much a week or two later,” he added, that James said he was re-signing with the Cavs.

“When I got to Cleveland, LeBron tried his best. Him and the guys used to invite me over to his house and want to play cards or just watch a game. My first six, seven months in Cleveland, I went to practice, I would go out some nights and I would go home. I hardly did anything. I hardly to went to any Cavs games. I was just in a funk that I couldn’t really get out of and didn’t give it much of a chance,” the former Heisman winner said.

Manziel struggled on the field, starting in just six games in 2015. He also battled addiction, spending time in rehab in 2015, and again in 2016 after the Browns let him go, for substance abuse.

Earlier this month, in an interview on ABCs “Good Morning America,” Manziel announced that he has been diagnosed as bipolar.

Since the diagnosis a year ago, he has stopped drinking, he told ABC. Manziel admitted that his problems with alcohol stemmed from him self-medicating to deal with depression.

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“At the end of the day I can’t help that my wires are a little bit differently crossed than yours, I can’t help my mental makeup of the way that I was created,” Manziel said. “But I know if I stay on these meds and I continue to do what I am doing right now … I think my dad, my mom, I think (girlfriend Bre Tiesi), would all agree that they see a drastic change.”

Now, Manziel is looking to get back to football. He’s been offered a contract to play for the Hamilton Tiger Cats in the Canadian Football League, but Manziel has his sights set on a return to the NFL.

Manziel has been working out, most notably with Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., as he prepares to play in the NFL’s Spring League.

The Spring League is a developmental league that runs from March 28-April 15. It is heavily scouted by NFL teams and is designed to be a showcase for players looking to make the NFL.

Manziel has certainly been through a lot and seems to have his life back in order. While he and James remain friends, they don’t communicate as much as they once did, but Manziel said he is appreciative of James’ support.

Considering all he’s been through, Manziel is still just 25 years old, so there’s plenty of time for him to realize his potential in the NFL.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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