The prospect of his NFL career currently exists as a sore conversation topic for Johnny Manziel. The 23-year-old former Browns quarterback, according to Kent Babb of the Washington Post, orders the subject changed when his playing career or the NFL comes up during discussions with his friends.
Many of Manziel’s friends do not know if he wants to play football again. One of Manziel’s close confidants told Babb in May that he did not expect the former Heisman Trophy-winning passer to attempt a comeback. Recent indications pointed to Manziel reconsidering a comeback in 2017. A substance abuse-induced suspension will shelve the free agent for four games in 2016, but the Texas A&M product seemed a long shot to land with a team even before the league handed down that ban.
Manziel, though, sent a statement to the Washington Post indicating he’s still interested in playing football despite his myriad legal troubles and various concerns emerging about his well-being.
“I’m actually doing well. I have good friends around me supporting what I do and I try to support them in what they want to do,” the statement read. “I’m not saying I’m never drinking again, but for now just mostly being healthy. I’ve got a killer gym in my house and I can spend time working out. I’m interested in doing a lot of different things in my life — including football — but, right now, I’m just exploring options and waiting to see what the future holds.”
Here’s more from around the league.
- Julian Edelman is unsure when he’ll be cleared to play, Chris Mason of the Boston Herald reports. The eighth-year Patriots wide receiver suffered a Jones fracture in his foot last season and underwent surgery during the spring, his second on that troublesome left foot. The 30-year-old slot staple missed seven games for the Pats last season and underwent the additional corrective procedure despite hauling in 17 passes for 153 yards in two playoff games.
- It appears Stedman Bailey won’t be serving in a non-playing role with the Rams this season after he previously planned to function in that capacity. The former West Virginia standout returned to his alma mater and will work as a student assistant in Morgantown this season, according to an ESPN.com report. The 25-year-old receiver saw a drive-by shooting derail his NFL career and then observed the Rams waive him, as it still seems bleak he’ll play again. Bailey will re-enroll at school to complete his degree, although he’s not giving up on returning to the NFL. “Even though my playing career isn’t over yet, this gives me more time to heal so I can make a return,” Bailey said in a statement released by the university.
- Beyond Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and fullback Michael Burton, the Lions will have a host of fringe ball-carriers competing for their final two running back jobs — assuming Detroit keeps four tailbacks. Ridley looks like the favorite to win the No. 3 job, which Tim Twenyman of DetroitLions.com categorizes as a change-of-pace back. Joining George Winn, Zach Zenner and rookie seventh-rounder Dwayne Washington, the 27-year-old Ridley played in nine games last year with the Jets but received just 36 carries.
- Of course, the Lions’ backfield dynamic could change if they sign Arian Foster, who is set to visit Detroit this week.