Parenting

Johnny Manziel's Father Says His Son Need to Be in Jail for His Own Good

Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel in this combination police booking photos in Dallas County, Texas, Courtesy Highland Park Texas Department of Public Safety/Handout via REUTERS

The father of former Cleveland Browns quarter back Johnny Manziel told ESPN on Friday that his family has exhausted all possible ways to help their son and he thinks that locking his son up in jail may be the only way to save his life.

Johnny Manziel, 23, who was cut by the Browns this year after years of problems both on and off the field, is facing misdemeanor assault charges for allegedly hitting and threatening former girlfriend Colleen Crowley in January. If convicted, he could spend up to a year in jail and pay a $4000 fine. Last week his lawyer accidentally sent a text to the Associated Press expressing doubts that Manziel would be able to stay clean in the event of a plea deal.

“Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle,” defense attorney Bob Hinton wrote.

“He’s a druggie. It’s not a secret that he’s a druggie,” Paul Manziel told ESPN’s Josina Anderson in an interview on Friday. “I don’t know what to say other than my son is a druggie and he needs help. He just hasn’t [sought] it yet. Hopefully he doesn’t die before he comes to his senses. That’s about all you can say. I don’t know what else to say.”

He said he’s had his son in rehab, but the system “failed” because doctors let Johnny go.

“He has more money than me, so he can outrun me. Like I said, there are two things that are going to happen: He’s either going to die, or he’s going to figure out that he needs help. It’s one of the two.” He said the family has done everything they can do at this point and they’ve run out of options. 

“I mean, I hate to say it, but I hope he goes to jail. I mean, that would be the best place for him.”

The elder Manziel, like many family members of addicts, sounds like a man who is physically and emotionally exhausted from constantly battling the addiction beast that has claimed his son. He sees a bleak future for the former Texas A & M star.

“I’m done. I’m done talking about it,” he said. “I’m doing my job, and I’m going to move on. If I have to bury him, I’ll bury him. That’s the fact. So if not, if he calls me and needs help, I’ll go get him. Until then, he’s on his own. I’ve done everything I can do. There is nothing [else] I can do as a father. Nothing. … It is what it is. He’s a druggie, and everybody needs to accept it.”

The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, dubbed “Johnny Football” when he was in college, was selected by the Browns in the 2014 draft. He never lived up to his promise as a quarterback, and it quickly became apparent that his penchant for partying was affecting his performance on the field. Eventually, his off-field antics became such a distraction, and his on-field performance so lackluster, that the Browns cut him from the team. Two agents also cut ties with him after he refused to go back to rehab. If another team picks him up, he could face league sanctions related to the domestic violence case as well.