As we now, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel was released from rehab last weekend after spending over two months seeking treatment for his issues with alcohol. He’s expected to be in Cleveland next week for the beginning of offseason workouts. However, before he made his way back to Ohio, he released a public statement through the team this morning, his first since leaving the treatment facility.
“I owe private apologies to a lot of people that I disappointed but a very public one to the Browns organization and the fans that I let down,” Manziel said. “I take full responsibility for my actions and it’s my intention to work very hard to regain everyone’s trust and respect. I understand that will take time and will only happen through what I do and not what I say.”
After spending such a long time away from the spotlight in attempts to tackle the demons which have plagued him for years, there were more than a few curious people wondering just what kind of Manziel was going to walk out of rehab. While this statement hardly gives us a full picture of what the new and improved Manziel looks like, it does make it appear as though the time in rehab made an impact with him.
And yet, listening to Cleveland sports radio, this statement is being met with its fair share of skepticism. Is such a reaction to someone owning up to his actions cruel? Perhaps. At the same time, the only reason there are people who doubt Manziel’s words is, frankly, because we’ve heard them all before.
Manziel had to make various apologies throughout his first season with the Browns. Statements had to be made about a hotel lobby scuffle, about his drinking habits. When his season came to an early end due to a hamstring injury, he told reporters he was indeed a changed man, no longer the quarterback known more for his photos at bars and clubs than his performance on the field.
“The main thing is I’m not the guy that I’ve always been,” said Manziel back in December. “I’m not the Johnny Manziel that came in here a year ago and was talking to you guys when I first got here.”
Just days later, the team had to go looking for him, as he didn’t report to the team facility to fly out for the upcoming weekend’s game. According to numerous reports, they found him at his apartment, where he was more than a little inebriated.
Once again, Manziel found himself repeating the same lines. That he needed to change, vowing he would. Apologizing for those he let down, claiming it was time to stop “looking like a jackass.”
So, when this latest statement comes out featuring various quotes we’ve already heard from him at some point or another, more than a few people are going to remain doubtful.
Now, this is in no way an attempt to say nobody should believe a word Manziel says. Yes, he’s gone through his “I have to be better” spiel before, and we’ve proceeded to watch him hardly live up to it. However, I’m not doing this to say Manziel’s team-released statement is yet another example of hollow words, that we should expect to find him back to his old ways soon enough.
No, instead I’m saying that until Manziel finally starts owning up to the quotes he gives the media, no one will truly believe him.
Clearly, it’s a different story when these kinds of statements are released after a stint in rehab and not after being found drunk at your apartment. However, when you consider the person in question here, you can understand why he won’t receive full support until he proves he means every word he’s saying.
Manziel may indeed have made this statement with full intention to live up to it, but nobody will fully trust him until he actually does such a thing.
His teammates know this routine all too well, as they’ve heard him talk all about how badly he wants to be Cleveland’s starting quarterback, only to watch him visibly lack the passion and determination needed to take on the job. The front office has likely heard apologies like this from him before, only to have photos or videos of Manziel drunk at a club sent to their inboxes. The fans who embraced him the second his name was called at last year’s draft have grown tired of hearing him say he’s holding himself accountable despite zero proof of such a thing.
All of this will likely remain a constant until Manziel finally shows everyone in question he’s not just going through a typical media routine. We’ve all seen that before, and know how it typically ends. Until Manziel finally starts walking the walk, his words will no doubt be seen with nothing but cynicism and disbelief.
On the surface, it certainly appears as though Manziel means every word of his latest statement. But we don’t know for sure, and won’t until he finally dedicates himself to proving it.