USA TODAY Sports NFL reporter Lorenzo Reyes looks at the five players who need to take their games to another level if their teams are going to have a shot at making the playoffs this season.

Johnny Manziel is claiming he’s had “a couple conversations with some teams” about returning to the NFL.

No, really.

I’ll admit, I was as skeptical as anyone when I first saw the Dallas Morning News report. Johnny Manziel, the guy who managed to pack rehab and domestic violence allegations into his two years in the NFL, while at the same time alienating coaches and teammates and living up to not one of the expectations for him. The guy who cost the Cleveland Browns a first-round pick, a coach and who knows how many years in their latest rebuilding effort.

But it actually makes perfect sense.

I mean, who hasn’t made up a list of prospective employers and then cold-called or spammed them with their resume? Can’t you just see Manziel Googling, “San Francisco 49ers general manager” and then calling the number that pops up?


Or maybe he’s been stalking OTAs, hanging by the entrance with all the fans waiting for autographs. “Mr. Elway! Mr. Elway! Can you sign this please?” Except instead of a football or a photo, it’s a free-agent contract Manziel shoves into Elway’s hands.

Or maybe these are just “practice” conversations. You know, in case the day does come that someone from an NFL team does call.

But let’s, for a moment, say a team, even two or three, has called Manziel. He claims he’s been working out, and Lord knows there are no other viable quarterbacks left out there to bring in for a look-see. Certainly not anyone with, say, a career completion rate of almost 60%, who last year had a QB rating of 90.7 and who led his Bay Area team to its first Super Bowl appearance in nearly 20 years.

But I digress.

Even NFL front-office types need some levity every once in a while. After the draft and free agency are done and there’s a break before the start of the demolition derbies, err, training camps, maybe someone decided it would be fun to see what ol’ Johnny Football has been up to in the past year or so. Quality time in Austin? Flashing the money sign in Vegas? “Redecorating” rental houses?

While they’ve got him on the phone, they ought to ask Manziel if he’s getting any royalties for sparking the latest pool float craze. It’s a travesty if he’s not. All those unicorns that have taken over beaches and pools would still be figments of the imagination if not for Manziel’s ride on a swan a few years back.

And if Manziel is telling the truth? It has been several months since he was seen partying or made an appearance on TMZ. Pinned to the top of his Twitter feed is this Tweet from January: No lie.. I was a douche in 2016 I’m just trying to be a good PERSON again#LostInTheSauce

I know the situation that I put myself in. I know the year I took off and obviously the mistakes that I made,” Manziel told the Dallas Morning News on Saturday when it caught up with him at the National Fantasy Football Convention.

“Right now, I’m hopeful. I’m really hopeful,” he said. “I think that I made some progress in that regard. But we’ll see.”

There you have it. All you NFL teams in need of QB help, Johnny Football is there for you. After all, what could possibly go wrong? 

Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour. 


Show Thumbnails

Show Captions