Johnathan Paul Manziel (// man-ZEL; born December 6, 1992) is an American football quarterback who is currently a free agent. He previously played two seasons with the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL).
Manziel with the Cleveland Browns in 2015
|No. -- Free agent|
|Date of birth:||December 6, 1992|
|Place of birth:||Tyler, Texas|
|Height:||5 ft 11.75 in (1.82 m)|
|Weight:||210 lb (95 kg)|
|High school:||Kerrville (TX) Tivy|
|NFL Draft:||2014 / Round: 1 / Pick: 22|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 2015|
|Player stats at PFR|
Nationally recruited out of high school as a dual-threat quarterback, Manziel debuted for the Texas A&M Aggies as a redshirt freshman in Kevin Sumlin's Air Raid offense during A&M's first season in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in 2012. He broke numerous NCAA Division I FBS and SEC records, which included becoming the first freshman and fifth player in NCAA history to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a season. At the end of the regular season, he became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, Manning Award, and the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award. Manziel capitalized on his redshirt freshman season by leading Texas A&M to a 41–13 victory over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.
Manziel was drafted by the Browns as the 22nd overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. Despite some success, he struggled with consistency and his tenure was overshadowed by off-field controversies. He was released by the Browns after the end of the 2015 season. Following further controversies during the 2016 offseason, Manziel was unable to be signed by another team before the start of the season and returned to Texas A&M as a student.
TexAgs users tagged Manziel with the nickname "Johnny Football" during Manziel's sophomore high school football season in Texas. The nickname followed him to Texas A&M University and endures until now. He has applied to register the nickname as a trademark.
Manziel was born in Tyler, Texas, on December 6, 1992, to Michelle (née Liberato) and Paul Manziel. He has a younger sister named Meri. Manziel's great-great-grandfather Joseph emigrated to the United States in 1883 from the Mount Lebanon region of Syria in what is now Lebanon.  He is of Italian descent on his maternal side. His family became wealthy through the Texas petroleum industry.
Manziel grew up playing a variety of sports, including football, basketball, baseball, and golf. At Tivy High School in Kerrville, Texas, he focused on baseball and football. However, it was in football that sportswriters, coaches, and parents said he "achieved folk hero status" and was compared to quarterbacks like Brett Favre, Michael Vick, and Drew Brees.
High school career
At Tivy High School, he was coached by Mark Smith. Manziel played football all four years and began with the freshman team his first year. By the end of his first season, he played with the varsity team as a receiver. He began his sophomore year primarily as a receiver, but started the fourth game at quarterback. He shared that position for the remainder of the season, finishing with 1,164 yards passing, 806 rushing and 408 receiving for a combined 28 touchdowns. His junior year was his first as starting quarterback, and he completed that season with 2,903 passing yards, 1,544 rushing yards, 152 receiving yards and 55 touchdowns. That year, he was voted All-San Antonio Area Offensive Player of the Year as well as District 27-4A MVP.
During Manziel's senior season, he compiled 228-of-347 (65.7%) passing for 3,609 yards with 45 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He also had 170 carries for 1,674 yards and 30 touchdowns. He had one touchdown reception and returned a kickoff for a touchdown for a combined 77 touchdowns. That year, he was honored as District 28-4A MVP (unanimous selection), Class 4A First Team All-State (AP), San Antonio Express-News Offensive Player of the Year (second year in a row), the Associated Press Sports Editors Texas Player of the Year, Sub-5A First Team All-Area (SA Express-News), No. 1 QB in Texas by Dave Campbell's Texas Football, DCTF Top 300, PrepStar All-Region and Super-Prep All-Region.
For Manziel's three years as a starter, he completed 520-of-819 passes (63.5%) for 7,626 yards and 76 touchdowns, rushed 531 times for 4,045 yards and 77 touchdowns and caught 30 passes for 582 yards and another five touchdowns. He was the only quarterback in America named as a Parade All-American his senior year, and he was also named The National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) Senior Athlete of the Year in football. He won the Mr. Texas Football award in 2010.
Manziel was highly recruited out of high school; in addition to Texas A&M, he received offers from Baylor, Colorado State, Iowa State, Louisiana Tech, Oregon, Rice, Stanford, Tulsa, and Wyoming. Although he grew up a Texas Longhorns fan, the University of Texas did not recruit him. Although it was rumored that Texas wanted Manziel at defensive back, Texas coach Mack Brown said the rumor was not true. Though Manziel originally committed to play for Oregon, he later changed his commitment to the Aggies, thanks to the influence of then-quarterbacks coach Tom Rossley.
- High school statistics
Manziel was named to the NUC All World Game (started by David Schuman and National Underclassmen Combine) in 2010 where he rushed for over 100 yards and threw for over 200. It was the first time Manziel dominated on a national stage. He played in the game as a teammate with Oregon QB Marcus Mariota.
|Name||Hometown||High school / college||Height||Weight||40‡||Commit date|
|Kerrville, TX||Tivy HS||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)||190 lb (86 kg)||4.7||Feb 2, 2011|
|Recruiting star ratings: Scout: Rivals: 247Sports: N/A ESPN grade: 78|
|Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 45 (QB); 31 (school) Rivals: 97 (QB); 27 (school) ESPN: 78 (QB)|
Texas A&M faced uncertainty at the quarterback position when Ryan Tannehill left for the National Football League after the 2011 season. Manziel performed well during spring ball and fall practices and won the starting job over Jameill Showers and Matt Joeckel before the season began. His first game was supposed to be against Louisiana Tech in Shreveport, Louisiana on Thursday, August 30, 2012, but the game was postponed until October 13 due to Hurricane Isaac hitting the Louisiana coast two days prior to game time. Consequently, Manziel's college football debut was played as a redshirt freshman against the Florida Gators before a home crowd at Kyle Field.
Although Manziel began the season in relative obscurity, his play against Arkansas in which he broke Archie Manning's 43-year-old total offense record gained him some attention. Manziel produced 557 yards of total offense, breaking Manning's record of 540. Two games later, Manziel surpassed his own total offense record against #24 Louisiana Tech by achieving 576 yards of total offense, becoming the first player in SEC history to have two 500+ total offense games in one season. After Texas A&M's blowout of Auburn in the eighth game of the season, in which Manziel accounted for 3 passing and 2 rushing touchdowns through only the first half plus one series in the second, Manziel began showing up in national Heisman Watch lists.
Manziel was launched into the national scene after he led Texas A&M to a 29–24 victory over #1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. In that game, Manziel accounted for 345 of A&M's 418 yards of offense, including two passing touchdowns. In the following days, Manziel became the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy in most national watch lists and polls due to his performance during the game combined with other Heisman frontrunners faltering.
On November 24, during the game against the Missouri Tigers before a home crowd, Manziel left the game with an apparent knee injury late in the first quarter. He returned to the field for the next series of downs wearing a knee brace and finished the game with 439 yards of total offense, including 3 passing and 2 rushing touchdowns. During the game, he broke the single season record for offensive production in the SEC with 4600 yards, surpassing Cam Newton and Tim Tebow, notable recent Heisman Trophy winners. He also became the first freshman and only the fifth player in NCAA history to pass for 3000 and rush for 1,000 yards in a season, reaching that mark two games earlier than any other player. He won the SEC Freshman of the Year Award and College Football Performance National Freshman of the Year Award. Manziel won the Davey O'Brien Award on December 6 and the Heisman Trophy on December 8, making him the first freshman ever to win either award.
Texas A&M started the 2013 season with a No. 6 ranking in the Coaches Poll. Prior to the season, some journalists argued that Manziel could suffer a sophomore slump, while others felt that he will continue to have success. Manziel's eligibility for the 2013 season was under question after reports surfaced that he had signed autographs for money in January 2013. On August 28, 2013, the NCAA reached an agreement with Texas A&M to suspend Manziel for the first half of the team's game against Rice (the first game of the season), after acknowledging that Manziel did not receive any money for the autographs.
In the game against #1 Alabama, Manziel threw for a school record of 464 yards and 5 touchdowns in the 49–42 loss. His primary target during the game was Mike Evans, who compiled 7 receptions for a school record of 279 yards. In the 51–41 win over Mississippi State, Manziel tied his single-game career-high five touchdowns, while also throwing for 446 yards but with 3 interceptions. He was fifth in Heisman Trophy voting in 2013.
- College statistics
As a Texas Rangers fan growing up, Manziel was a middle infielder at Tivy High School before foregoing his baseball career in favor of football. He played baseball through his junior year, but he skipped out on his senior season so he could graduate early and focus on preparing for his freshman football season at Texas A&M. Manziel's passion for the game of baseball, however, did not diminish after high school. He briefly discussed the possibility of playing collegiate ball with Texas A&M's baseball coaches, but that never came to fruition once he won the starting quarterback job as a redshirt freshman.
Professional football career
|Ht||Wt||Arm length||Hand size||40‑yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20‑ss||3‑cone||Vert jump||Broad||Wonderlic|
|5 ft 11 3⁄4 in||207 lb||31 3⁄8 in||10 in||4.65 s||1.63 s||2.72 s||4.03 s||6.75 s||32 in||9 ft 5 in||32|
|All values from the NFL Combine|
In January 2014, Manziel announced that he would forgo his junior season and enter the 2014 NFL Draft. He was projected to be a first-round pick, and as of January 15, 2014, his draft stock was reported to be rising by a consensus of experts who had him pegged as a top-5 pick. Manziel elected to throw during Texas A&M's Pro Day on March 27, 2014, instead of during the NFL Combine. During his pro day, Manziel completed 64 of 66 passes to six different receivers. His pro day performance was well received by sports journalists.
Prior to the 2014 NFL Draft, Manziel became one of the most polarizing athletes in pre-draft history, with scouting opinions varying from "undraftable" to "rare competitor". Former NFL head coach Barry Switzer took it to a personal level, criticizing Manziel, saying: "I don’t like his antics. I think he’s an arrogant little prick. I’ve said that and I’ll say it again."
On draft day, 21 teams, including the Cleveland Browns, passed over Manziel. While Manziel was waiting to get drafted, he texted then-Browns quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains that he wants to "wreck the league" in Cleveland. Loggains forwarded the text to head coach Mike Pettine, who made the decision to trade up to draft Manziel. The Browns drafted him at the 22nd overall pick.
On August 22, 2014, Manziel was fined $12,000 by the NFL for a hand gesture (flipping the bird) that he made in a preseason loss to the Washington Redskins. Fellow quarterback Brian Hoyer was named the starter over Manziel for the opening regular-season game.
On November 30, 2014, Manziel entered the game against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter after an ineffective performance by starting quarterback Brian Hoyer. Manziel went 5 of 8 for 63 yards, and scored his first NFL touchdown on a 10-yard rush in the fourth quarter. The Browns lost 26–10.
Manziel made his first NFL start in the Browns' Week 15 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Manziel completed 10-of-18 passes for 80 yards and two interceptions for a 27.3 passer rating while being sacked three times. The Browns lost 30–0.
Manziel completed three of eight passes in his second career start against the Carolina Panthers on December 21, 2014. He left the game with a hamstring injury with less than two minutes remaining in the first half and was replaced by Hoyer. The Browns went on to lose 17–13.
Overall, Manziel completed 18–of–35 passes for 176 yards and two interceptions, and rushed nine times for 29 yards and one touchdown. Manziel's work ethic and commitment were questioned by over 20 sources within the Cleveland Browns. An anonymous player even called Manziel's rookie season a "100 percent joke." Others within the organization were hopeful about Manziel's future, including cornerback Joe Haden.
On August 27, Manziel was ruled out for the rest of the preseason with recurring pain in his right elbow. Manziel had been making noticeable improvement in his play.
On September 13, Manziel was brought into the game against the New York Jets after starting QB Josh McCown was injured in the first half. Manziel scored his first career passing touchdown with a 54-yard pass to WR Travis Benjamin. However, Manziel committed three turnovers in the second half (two of them being fumbles) as the Jets won 31–10. Manziel started the Week 2 game against 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans. He completed 8 of 15 passes for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns to Travis Benjamin in the 28–14 win.
Following McCown's recovery, Manziel did not take the field again until McCown suffered a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter of a Week 7 game against the St. Louis Rams. Manziel completed 4 of 5 passes for 27 yards in a 24–6 loss. In a Week 8 game against the Arizona Cardinals, Manziel again took the field in the fourth quarter after McCown suffered another injury. Manziel made his second start of the season in Week 9, completing 15 of 33 passes for 168 yards and one touchdown in a 31–10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. In Week 10, Manziel had his statistically best game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, completing 33 of 45 passes for 372 yards and one touchdown. Despite his efforts, however, the Browns lost 30–9.
Manziel was announced as the starting quarterback for the rest of the season on November 17. However, Manziel was demoted to third-string quarterback behind McCown and Austin Davis a week later after videos surfaced of him partying in Texas over the bye week. As a result, Manziel remained benched in favor of Davis when McCown suffered a season-ending collarbone injury in the subsequent game against the Baltimore Ravens. Manziel was promoted to starter again after the Bengals defeated the Davis-led Browns 37–3. Despite throwing a maligned interception in his return performance, Manziel completed 21 of 31 passes for 270 yards and one touchdown in a 24–10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, ending the Browns' seven-game losing streak.
Manziel sat out the last game of the 2015 season with a concussion, with reports circulating that he was in Las Vegas instead of in Cleveland with the team that weekend. The team confirmed that Manziel did miss a scheduled check-in on the morning of the last game of the season. The Browns released him on March 11, 2016.
Honors and accomplishments
- 2012 Heisman Trophy winner (first freshman to win)
- 2012 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award winner (first freshman to win)
- 2012 Manning Award winner (first freshman to win)
- 2012 First-team All-American by:
- ◦ Associated Press
- ◦ Football Writers Association of America
- ◦ Walter Camp Football Foundation
- ◦ Sporting News
- ◦ ESPN
- ◦ CBS Sports
- ◦ Scout.com
- ◦ Sports Illustrated
- 2012 Sporting News College Football Player of the Year
- 2012 SEC Offensive Player of the Year
- 2012 SEC Freshman of the Year
- 2012 All-SEC First-Team Quarterback
- 2013 Cotton Bowl Classic - Offensive MVP
- 2012 ESPN.com All-Bowl Team
- 2013 SEC Male Athlete of the Year
- 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl - Offensive MVP
- 2-time Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week
- 3-time AT&T All-America Player of the Week
- 4-time SEC Offensive Player of the Week
- 9-time SEC Freshman of the Week
NCAA records and notes
- FBS freshman record: rushing yards by a quarterback, season (1,410)
- FBS freshman record: total offense, season (5,116)
- 10th-most (at the time) single-season total offensive yards in NCAA FBS history
- Most games with 300 or more passing yards and 100+ rushing yards, career (4)
- FBS record: First freshman (and fifth player ever) in FBS history with 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards, season
- FBS record: Rushing yards by a quarterback in a bowl game (229 yards)
- Only the fourth player to have 20 passing TDs and 20 rushing TDs, season
- Eclipsed the 7,000-yard barrier in total offense in his 19th career game, which is the fastest in NCAA FBS history by a four-year player
- Second freshman in FBS history to rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 2,000 yards
- First freshman to win the Heisman Trophy
- First freshman to win the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award
- First freshman to win the Manning Award
SEC records and notes
- Most yards total offense in a game (576, breaking Archie Manning's 1969 record of 540 yards)
- The first three places on the SEC total offense in a game
- 576 yards
- 562 yards against No. 1 Alabama
- 557 yards two weeks before the 576 yards
- The first three places on the SEC total offense in a game
- Most yards total offense, season (5,116, breaking Cam Newton's 2010 record in two fewer games)
- 2nd-most yards total offense, season (4,873)
- Most yards total offense, game average (383.3, breaking Tim Couch's 1998 record, of 377.4 yards)
- Highest yards per play average (50 plays minimum), game (10.71, against Arkansas on September 29, 2012, breaking Steve Tanneyhill's record of 10.0 yards)
- First SEC quarterback to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in one season
- Second-most passing yards in a SEC single season, 4,114 passing yards
- Tied for third-most passing touchdowns in an SEC single season, 37 touchdowns
- Tied for second most rushing touchdowns in a single season
- Tied for 8th most scoring in a single season
- 8th most passing yards in a single season
Texas A&M records and notes
- Most total yards in a season with 5,116
- Most yards passing yards in a game
- The first three spots on the Texas A&M passing yards in a game
- 464 yards against No. 1 Alabama on September 14, 2013
- 454 yards against Auburn on October 19, 2013
- 453 yards against Arkansas on September 29, 2012
- The first three spots on the Texas A&M passing yards in a game
- Most yards total offense in a game (576, breaking Archie Manning's 1969 record of 540 yards)
- The first 3 spots on the Texas A&M total offense in a game
- 576 yards
- 562 yards against #1 Alabama
- 557 yards two weeks before the 576 yards
- The first 3 spots on the Texas A&M total offense in a game
- In 10 games, Manziel had 4 of the top 10 games in total offense in Texas A&M history.
- Logged 10 straight games with 300 or more total yards, 21 total games with 300+ yards.
- Third Texas A&M quarterback to surpass 3,000 passing yards in a season.
- First Texas A&M quarterback to have multiple 3,000-yard seasons.
- Texas A&M career total touchdowns record with 94 touchdowns.
- Texas A&M career total yards record with 9,989 yards.
- Third Texas A&M quarterback to surpass 7,000 passing yards in a career.
- Most passing yards in a single season.
- Second Texas A&M quarterback to rush for 2,000 yards.
- The most rushing touchdowns in a single season.
- The most passing touchdowns in a single season.
- 2nd in career passing touchdowns.
- 2nd in career passing yards.
- Tied for 12th in career rushing touchdowns.
- 15th in career rushing yards.
Personal life and controversies
Manziel is a Christian. Manziel is a friend of rap artist Drake and in April 2014, Drake released a track entitled "Draft Day", which includes a shoutout to Manziel. He is currently engaged to Bre Tiesi as of March 10, 2017.
June 2012 arrest
On June 29, 2012, before he was chosen as Texas A&M's starting quarterback and before his first college game, Manziel was arrested and charged with three misdemeanors—disorderly conduct, failure to identify, and possession of a fictitious driver's license. These charges stemmed from a late-night fight in College Station, Texas. In July 2013, he pleaded guilty for failure to identify, and the other two charges were dismissed.
Police reports state that Manziel was with a friend who directed a racial slur at a man on the street. The man then approached the two of them trying to get at the friend, but Manziel placed himself between the two men saying his friend didn't mean it and he was going to take him home. The man continued pushing against Manziel to reach the other, and eventually Manziel pushed back. At this point, the man swung at Manziel who then began fighting back. Shortly afterward, the bicycle patrol officers arrived. Manziel, who at the time was 19, presented a fake Louisiana driver’s license to police officers showing himself to be 21. Manziel was taken into custody and reportedly spent the night in jail. After the incident, Manziel eventually regained the favor of his team and head coach Kevin Sumlin, and was named the starting quarterback. Per Sumlin's policy of not allowing freshmen to give media interviews, Manziel was unable to speak to reporters about his arrest until the end of the 2012 regular season. When reporters asked about the incident during his first press conference on November 27, Manziel stated that he had learned from the mistake and "had to make a lot of changes in [his] life."
During the 2013 offseason at Texas A&M, Manziel drew significant media attention over his behavior off the field. Notable incidents include his early departure from the Manning Passing Academy after allegedly oversleeping, tweeting that he "can't wait to leave College Station" after receiving a parking ticket, and getting kicked out of a University of Texas fraternity party. An ESPN The Magazine article revealed his parents' concerns about his dealings with his newfound stardom.
On August 4, ESPN reported that the NCAA was investigating whether Manziel accepted payments from autographs that he had signed in January 2013. The NCAA did not find any evidence that Manziel accepted money for the autographs, but reached an agreement with Texas A&M to suspend him for the first half of the season opener against Rice University, due to an "inadvertent violation" of NCAA rules.
On February 4, Manziel entered a treatment program for unspecified reasons.
On May 30, Manziel was involved in an incident with a heckler at the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament. The heckler had been continually asking for an autograph, to the point that Manziel became fed up and threw a water bottle at the man. The water bottle missed the heckler. Security and police were called, but no criminal charges were filed.
During October of the 2015 season, Manziel was pulled over by a policeman after fighting in his car with his then girlfriend, Colleen Crowley. Although no charges were made, Manziel admitted to having had some alcoholic drinks earlier that afternoon.
On November 24, a week after Manziel was announced as the Browns' starter for the remainder of the season, coach Mike Pettine demoted Manziel to third string after a video of him partying surfaced on the internet. It was later revealed Manziel reportedly lied about the video.
On January 2, 2016, Manziel was seen at Las Vegas' Planet Hollywood casino the night before the Browns played their final game of the 2015 season. Manziel was scratched from the final game because of a concussion. As word of his appearance at the casino spread across social media, he posted a photo on Instagram of himself and his dog at home. The next day, Manziel failed to report to the Browns on Sunday morning when he was supposed to report to the team medic, which all players with concussions are supposed to do. Sports Illustrated's Peter King also added that the Browns are "so done with Manziel" and he "wants to go to Dallas"
On January 6, 2016, Manziel's marketing agency, LRMR, announced that it would no longer work with Manziel. Manziel's agent, Erik Burkhardt, also announced that he would no longer represent Manziel. On February 5, 2016, the Dallas Police Department announced that they are opening a criminal investigation with a claim of domestic violence involving his ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley. Dallas police had originally closed the case, but re-opened it with allegations stemming from an altercation on January 30, 2016, at a downtown Dallas hotel. According to Crowley, Manziel forced her into a car, pulled her by the hair, and threatened to kill both her and himself. On April 24, Manziel was indicted by a Dallas grand jury on misdemeanor assault charges for the incident.
On April 19, 2016, after just two months of representing him, agent Drew Rosenhaus terminated Manziel as a client, marking the first time in Rosenhaus' 27-year career he fired an NFL player. On the same day, Nike ended its relationship with Manziel.
On June 24, 2016, Manziel's attorney, Bob Hinton, accidentally sent a lengthy text message to the Associated Press relating to Manziel's defense in his domestic violence case. In the message, Hinton expressed concerns about Manziel's ability to stay clean, saying that he was given a receipt that suggests Manziel spent around $1,000 at The Gas Pipe, a drug paraphernalia store. On the same day, Manziel's father, Paul, told ESPN: "He's a druggie. It's not a secret that he's a druggie. Hopefully he doesn't die before he comes to his senses. I mean, I hate to say it, but I hope he goes to jail. I mean, that would be the best place for him. I'm doing my job, and I'm going to move on. If I have to bury him, I'll bury him."
On June 30, 2016, he was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. On September 5, Manziel returned to his alma mater and is currently taking classes.
Manziel has discussed making a potential comeback in professional football, possibly in the Canadian Football League, where the Hamilton Tiger-Cats hold his rights and have expressed interest in signing him.
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