Johnny Manziel is well on his way to becoming an afterthought in the football world, while Jeremiah Masoli, a quarterback with a similar past, is entering his prime.
Johnny Manziel’s Career
The sad story began at Tivy High School near San Antonio, Texas. Manziel was evidently athletic from the beginning of his high school career, playing wide receiver. Tivy slowly transitioned Manziel to their full-time quarterback and following his senior season, he had recorded over 5,200 yards of total offence and 77 total touchdowns.
The story gets significantly better before becoming significantly worse.
In 2012, Johnny Manziel reigned as king of the sporting world. The redshirt freshman quarterback earned numerous awards including first-team All-SEC, consensus All-American, SEC Offensive Player of the Year, Sporting News Player of the Year, Associated Press Player of the year, Manning Award, Davey O’Brien Award and the Heisman Trophy.
Following a freshman season unlike any that the sporting circle had ever witnessed before, the 2013 off-season raised some concerns for Texas A&M. There were accusations that Manziel was signing autographs for money. The accusations resulted in the Aggies which suspending him for the first half of their 2013 season opener.
After another Heisman calibre season in 2013, Manziel elected to enter the NFL draft. Barry Switzer called Manziel out for what he believed him to be, telling the media that he was arrogant.
Fast forward three years later, and the Cleveland Browns had drafted Manziel and he has since departed from the NFL.
The period of time in which many Manziel followers lost interest was when he was negotiating with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for a potential contract.
Red flags began popping up everywhere. Manziel was reportedly demanding close to league-high salary requests from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, which was unheard of — especially due to his troubled past.
Through his actions, Manziel portrayed he was doing the CFL a favour by travelling up to Canada to play football. Manziel possibly expected NFL dropouts to open up his spot. Before such could happen, the former Browns pivot was introduced to some of the world’s best football players.
Jeremiah Masoli’s Career
One of those elite football players was a patient, calm 5’9 quarterback named Jeremiah Masoli. Masoli’s spent six CFL seasons on the sidelines, with the exception of a few starting stints in which he shined.
Masoli has a remarkably similar history to Manziel. Masoli was a college standout at Oregon before falling into legal trouble. He then transferred to Ole Miss and played his final collegiate year for the Rebels. Like Manziel, Masoli had a brief shot at the NFL before trying his hand at Canadian football.
The enlightening difference between the two elusive quarterbacks is that Masoli made a mistake and Manziel has a noticeable character flaw.
In 2010, the Birmingham Alumni Club honoured Masoli with their leadership award. He then waited patiently for over half a decade to be the starting quarterback of a professional football franchise. Throughout that period of time, Masoli backed up his supposed repentance by staying out of legal trouble.
Manziel followed his initial apology by wreaking havoc for the Cleveland Browns due to constant partying and legal issues. After he sought help and treatment for his issues, Manziel entered the CFL and convinced commissioner Randy Ambrosie that his repentance was genuine and his sincerity true.
Assumptions without evidence are wrong when they place a person in a negative light, but when there are leads that point to the assumption it is difficult to turn a blind eye.
The CFL banned Manziel because he did not follow the procedures that he had agreed to with Ambrosie. Speculations arose that Manziel broke his covenant purposely in order to become eligible to sign a deal with the United States newest football league, the AAF, which has now stopped operations.
The Last Word
While at Texas A&M, Johnny Manziel caused frustration for his coaching staff. When he played with Cleveland, Manziel further embarrassed an organization in turmoil. And when he resided in Canada, Manziel bolted from a struggling organization that sold out to welcoming him into the organization long-term.
Masoli made a mistake and repented. Manziel has a significant character flaw that has a ripple effect. The CFL should have seen it coming.
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