Johnny Manziel, who has not played football since 2015 and was released in 2016 by the Cleveland Browns, will participate in the developmental Spring League in his comeback attempt to return to the NFL.
Manziel, 25, signed a deal to play in the Elite D-League, which runs in Austin, Texas, from March 28 through April 15, The Spring League announced Wednesday.
Manziel will play for the Spring League South team, with games on April 7 and April 14. The Spring League consists of four teams competing in two doubleheaders.
“We’re excited to have such a dynamic player in Johhny Manziel taking part in The Spring League,” Brian Woods, CEO of The Spring League, said in a statement. “We believe our platform is the ideal forum for Mr. Manziel to enact his NFL comeback.”
#TheSpringLeague’s latest commitment is from a familiar face. Former Heisman Trophy winning QB from @AggieFootball and 2014 @Browns 1st round pick @jmanziel2 will make his return to the gridiron in #Austin. Get tix HERE: https://t.co/HICc3yB21v#comebackszn #cantwaitforspring pic.twitter.com/rbbvxwEKM3
— The Spring League (@TheSpringLeague) February 14, 2018
Launched last year, The Spring League is basically a pre-draft showcase for available players who may end up being signed by NFL teams after the draft.
Manziel said he is thankful for the opportunity to play.
“Football has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember,” he said. ” Sometimes you take for granted how much you value something until it’s gone. My goal is to make it back to the NFL and I realize I have to earn that privilege.
“The Spring League has provided me with a great opportunity to play ball again, and ultimately, that is all I want to do. I miss the competition.”
Manziel, the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012 and a rapid flameout in the NFL, revealed Monday in an exclusive interview with ABC that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a year ago and since quit drinking.
“I’m working to try and make sure that I don’t fall back into any type of depression, because I know where that leads me and I know how slippery a slope that is for me,” Manziel told ABC News’ “Good Morning America.”
“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 he takes medication to treat his bipolar disorder.
The Browns drafted Manziel in the first round (22nd overall) in 2014 out of Texas A&M. Due to what former coach Mike Pettine described as a lack of discipline, including drinking and partying during the practice week and missing offseason workouts and meetings without explanation, Manziel was released. One such transgression included a raucous night out soon after being announced as the team’s starter ahead of a “Monday Night Football” game at Baltimore.
–Field Level Media