Football fans are very familiar with the tale of Johnny Manziel, the Heisman Trophy winner-turned first-round draft bust with the Cleveland Browns.
Following a mediocre performance on the field, as well as troubles off of it, the quarterback was released by the Browns in 2016.
Then, he seemed to spiral out of control. As pointed out by the New York Post, Manziel battled substance abuse, and was also accused of domestic violence by his ex-girlfriend. During a recent appearance on “Good Morning America,” he admitted to having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
In recent months, Manziel has turned his life around. He got help for his substance abuse issues, and now wants to play professional football again.
But if not for an emotional plea from his mother, Michelle, it’s possible Manziel would still be stuck in what he described as a “rut.”
“I got so low to the point where I questioned what I was doing and if my life was probably really worth living to a point anymore and got really down and really had to sit and reflect and look on what I was doing every day,” Manziel ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt on Wednesday.
At that point, Manziel’s mother asked him a question that completely changed his outlook on life.
“My mom came to me one day and asked me — she didn’t really ask, she was just in tears — ‘What are you doing with your life? Why do I have to go around and get this secondhand of words and conversations of the negative things you’re doing around the world that’s coming back to me?'” Manziel recounted.
Manziel recognized that the way he was living his life was hurting his mom. So, he decided to change.
“I saw how bad that it broke her heart, and it sucked. And it really hit home,” he said.
And his efforts to be a better person seem to be paying dividends. Last week, with scouts from 13 NFL teams in attendance, Manziel served as the quarterback at the University of San Diego’s pro day.
Moreover, on Tuesday, he performed at Texas A&M’s pro day in front of more scouts and even some NFL coaches. On April 7, Manziel will officially debut for the developmental Spring League.
As he looks to get another shot in the pros, Manziel said his mind is in a good place. Even if no NFL team signs him, he indicated he’d be willing to prove himself in the Canadian Football League.
“I have a great family. I was always raised the right way. I knew the difference from right and wrong, but for whatever reason, I just liked to choose wrong,” Manziel told ESPN. “And I got in that rut.”
But now, he added, “It’s nice to wake up with a smile on your face and not be down and out.”
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