Johnny Manziel is making his life more simple, at least when it comes to his name, announcing that he is going by John now.
Appearing on “The Dan Patrick Show” Monday, the former Cleveland Browns quarterback said: “I have a little update for you. I actually go by John these days. So, I’m kind of just turning over the page and moving forward a little bit.”
He was asked if this means he’s growing up.
“Getting there I guess,” Manziel said.
The 26-year-old signed with the Memphis Express of the AAF in March, but his stint was a short one because the league folded before completing a season. Manziel suffered a head injury in his final appearance.
“Seeing how fast the AAF just evaporated, it caught me as a surprise a little bit because I was having so much fun in Memphis, probably more fun than I’ve had since my last game at Texas A&M vs. Duke,” Manziel said.
“My plan moving forward is to wake up every day with … to get back on the field, to continue to work on my craft, whether that’s in San Diego with (QB guru) George Whitfield and continue to try to get back to what I think I was — a little bit of a surgeon with the football in my hand. I feel good, and I’m just going to continue to keep my head down and keep working on what matters the most to me, and that’s football.”
Manziel joined the AAF after being released by the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL. That league also said he couldn’t play for another CFL team. Manziel wouldn’t go into much detail regarding his Canadian stint, except to say it didn’t turn out the way he anticipated it would.
Manziel was taken by Cleveland with the No. 22 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. But following two tumultuous seasons, the Browns released him in March 2016 after he posted a 2-6 record as their starter.
Manziel has dealt with several off-field issues. In 2016, a domestic assault charge against him in Dallas was dismissed after he took an anger management course and participated in the NFL’s substance abuse program. In a recent interview, he said he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has stopped drinking.
He was asked Monday if he had any leads with NFL teams.
“Right now I have open discussions with a couple of coaches in the league,” he said. “I’m trying not to get to up about it or anything that comes my way, so I’m just taking it day by day and trying to make the best of what’s going on.”
Manziel is encouraged by the rise of smaller, more mobile QBs such as Kyler Murray. The 6-foot Manziel broke the mold of the tall pocket passer while winning the Heisman Trophy at Texas A&M.
“I think it’s finally trending to ‘can you play ball or can you not play’ and if you can and somebody believes in you and says we’re going to tailor some of these things around you to be successful, I think that’s the recipe for success, not that you’re undersized or a dual threat or whatever it is,” Manziel said.
He knows that he didn’t make the most of his first stint in the NFL.
“You’re as good in the NFL as you are prepared for it. I learned that the hard way my first year in Cleveland,” he said.