Manziel At The Mavs: It's An Opportunity

DALLAS - Controversial NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel has in the last few days returned to his Texas roots with appearances at a Rangers baseball game and on Wednesday, at the Mavs' regular-season finale. DFW fandom? It represents a return to normalcy ... or heck, maybe a first visit to normalcy for 'Johnny Football' ...

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel was released from a rehab center where he has been under treatment since earlier this year, and his first post-rehab stops included a Texas Rangers baseball game and, on Wednesday, the Dallas Mavericks regular-season finale, a win over the visiting Blazers.

But these don't represent "joy rides,'' I don't think.

These are purposeful attempts at "normalcy'' of the sort I'll argue Manziel never experienced at Texas A&M and never experienced before that, either -- this being the life of a person billed as an athletic "hero'' and "savior'' before he's even sprouted armpit hair.


There are benefits to shaking hands with the powers-that-be who have involvement in organizations like the Rangers and the Mavs (let your mind wander a bit and I bet you'll figure it out) and in the end, that's far more important than the wobbly NFL quarterback being seen with a pretty blonde at a baseball game or being given a custom-made Mavs jersey on Wednesday.

It's even more important than just a football career.

The Browns will welcome Manziel back as a big question mark in their quarterback derby. While Manziel was in rehab, the Browns signed journeyman Josh McCown to a two-year deal and seem settled on the veteran being the starter unless he is unseated during training camp. The Browns, from owner Jimmy Haslam on down, have been saying that it’s too early for the team to give up on Manziel, who was drafted at the 22nd spot in the first round last year, and that's the proper position; there is a reason they selected him and his issues are nothing new ... so the Browns are, in a sense, obliged to deal with those issues.

ESPN has said the Browns are “90 percent done with Manziel,” a frankly silly take given a) the effort that the player and the club must put into rectifying the situation, and b) the wobbly notion that something as impersonal as a "percentage sign'' can be placed on something as indefinable as a human's future.

There is no "Manziel demanding a trade,''' there is no "Manziel Card'' that lands him in Dallas, there is no simple solution that makes him part of trade discussions involving a trade-up for Marcus Mariotta or a deal for Drew Brees.


There is, simply, a young man trying to get his life together, shaking hands in his home state of Texas just in case anybody cares to pitch in. .. a story that has a chance to go somewhere ... and we'll keep you posted.

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