Johnny Manziel, who lit up college football before foundering on and off the field in the NFL, says he has been diagnosed as bipolar and is receiving treatment for his illness.
The Heisman Trophy winning quarterback also told Good Morning America in a Monday interview that he had fought depression and used alcohol as a form of “self-medicating”.
“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,” said Manziel, who added that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder a year ago. “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 … would all agree that they see a drastic change.”
The 25-year-old was drafted in the first-round by the Cleveland Browns in 2014 after a stellar college career with Texas A&M. However, he was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, but the punishment was never formally served after the Browns released him. In November 2016, he reached a deal with the Dallas County district attorney’s office for the conditional dismissal of a domestic assault case, where he was accused of hitting and threatening his former girlfriend during a night out. He also checked into rehab for undisclosed problems at the end of his rookie season but his conduct did not improve.
On Monday, Manziel said he only had himself to blame for his conduct and wanted to get back into the NFL. “You are left staring at the ceiling by yourself and in that depression and back in that dark hole of sitting in a room by yourself, super depressed, thinking about all the mistakes you made in your life,” he said. “What did that get me? Where did that get me except out of the NFL? Where did that get me? Disgraced.”
Manziel also acknowledged that it would be tough to win back a starter’s job given his history. “I don’t know what kind of comeback it will be,” he said, “but I know I want to get back on a football field to what brought me so much joy in my life and it makes me happy doing as my job.”